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Israel postpones indictment of Palestinian journalist over alleged online 'incitement'

May 12, 2016 3:28 P.M. (Updated: May 13, 2016 11:11 A.M.)
(AFP/Jack Guez, File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- A Palestinian woman journalist is currently awaiting an indictment after being detained for more than a month in an Israeli prison over statements on social media, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) told Ma’an on Thursday.

Samah Dweik, a 25-year-old journalist working for Shabakat al-Quds (The Jerusalem Network), was detained on April 10 in her home in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Ras al-Amud over alleged “incitement” on Facebook.

Amjad Abu Asab, the head of the Jerusalem Committee for Families of Prisoners, told Ma’an that Dweik had been detained after writing a status and sharing an image in support of Palestinians recently killed by Israeli forces.

PPS said that Dweik was currently being held in the Israeli HaSharon prison.

Palestinian media reported that an indictment hearing for Dweik had recently been postponed to May 16.

"We don't know how long of a prison sentence they could give her," Abu Asab told Ma'an. "It could be a month, it could be a year."

In recent months, Israel has detained scores of Palestinians for social media activity, alleging that a wave of unrest that swept the occupied Palestinian territory last October was encouraged largely by "incitement."

Palestinians have instead pointed chiefly to the frustration and despair brought on by Israel's nearly 50-year military occupation of the Palestinian territory and the absence of a political horizon.

Most recently, Palestinian astrophysicist Imad Barghouthi was sentenced to two months in prison by an Israeli court over Facebook posts allegedly “inciting against Israeli occupation,” PPS said at the time.

Meanwhile, an Israeli court sentenced 22-year-old Palestinian woman Majd Yusif Atwan on Monday to 45 days in prison over charges of incitement on her Facebook account.

More than 200 Palestinians and almost 30 Israelis have been killed since October, although the number of Palestinian and Israeli deaths saw a dramatic drop over the last two months, with Israeli leadership suggesting its severe security measures were responsible for the emerging trend.

However, the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research found in a poll last month that support for stabbing attacks had seen a decline in the West Bank in recent months -- "due, it seems, to a rising perception in its inefficacy."

According to prisoners’ organization Addameer, 7,000 Palestinians are detained in Israeli custody.
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