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Protesters gather outside home of jailed writer in Gaza demanding his release

June 3, 2017 7:57 P.M. (Updated: June 5, 2017 7:54 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Palestinian activists and family members of jailed writer Abdullah Abu Sharikh protested outside of Abu Sharikh’s home in Gaza City on Saturday, calling for his immediate release.

Members of Abu Sharikh’s family, who gathered with demonstrators in the Saftawi neighborhood of Gaza City, told Ma’an that security authorities of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip had detained the 54-year-old writer for remarks he made in Facebook posts.

Protesters holding signs that read: "No to silencing the voice of righteousness," and "No to the policy of muzzling."

"Article 19 of the Palestinian constitution: Freedom of expression should not be harmed, and every person has the right to express their opinion and make it public by saying it, writing it, or by other means of expression such as art."

Abu Sharikh was detained at the end of January, after he obeyed a summons to appear for questioning that he received without knowing the reasons behind his arrest, local organization Al Mezan Center For Human Rights reported at the time.

The same day, security forces also summoned three activists for questioning, reportedly over their involvement in recent protests that denounced the electricity crises in the blockaded Palestinian territory.

Hamas has stifled dissident voices in the blockaded Palestinian territory since the faction won legislative elections in 2006 and became the ruling party in the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms documented a total of 48 violations by authorities in the Gaza Strip against media freedoms in its annual report, which highlighted incidents of security forces inflicting “certain types of torture” against Palestinian journalists during their detentions.

A continuation of Palestinian authorities -- both in Gaza and the West Bank, which is governed by the Fatah-led Palestinian authority -- “prosecuting journalists in relation to their publications on social media sites,” was also reported.

Political divisions between Fatah and Hamas since conflict broke out between the groups in 2007 were cited as the major reason behind media violations in the Gaza Strip.

Rights groups have continued to criticize the PA and Hamas, the de facto government of the Gaza Strip, of suppressing both freedom of press and freedom of speech. Both governments have been the focus of condemnation for targeting Palestinian journalists who openly criticize the government.
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