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PA slams Israel’s detention of Palestinian journalist

April 23, 2016 6:09 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 1, 2016 10:26 A.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- Palestinian leadership on Saturday condemned Israel’s detention of a Palestinian journalist at the Allenby crossing between the occupied West Bank and Jordan while he was en route to a journalism convention in Bosnia.

The Palestinian Authority Ministry of Information in a statement following the journalists’ detention said: “The Israeli authorities’ policy of targeting Palestinian journalists is a ‘desperate attempt’ to terrorize the free voice and silence them.”

Spokesperson for Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate Nasser Abu Bakr said Omar Nazzal -- an elected member of the syndicate -- had been stopped by the Israeli authorities at Allenby crossing for several hours before being taken to Etzion detention center for interrogation.

Nazzal was reportedly en route via Jordan to a conference held by the European Union for journalists in Bosnia, which a number of Palestinian journalists expected to attend.

Abu Bakr described Nazzal’s detention as“a new crime in the chain of crimes practiced by the [Israeli] occupation against Palestinian journalists.”

The ministry called on UN and EU representatives to pressure Israel to release Nazzal and at least 19 other Palestinian journalists currently held in Israeli prisons.

Nazzal’s detention comes a week after the Committee to Support Palestinian Journalists reported some 41 Palestinian journalists detained by Israel since October 2015.

The New York-based committee said in a report that during detention and imprisonment, journalists have reported torture, medical negligence, and unreasonable and illegal rulings by the Israeli authorities.

Israel has stepped-up a crackdown on Palestinian journalists and media organizations since a wave of unrest increased in October. While the Israeli authorities have said those targeted were responsible for incitement against Israel, rights groups argue the crackdown is a blatant violation of media freedoms.

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