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STOCKHOLM - Skyline International condemns the growing arbitrary arrests of activists and bloggers on the grounds of freedom of opinion and expression by Palestinian Authority security forces in the West Bank due to criticizing the governmental corruption.

In a statement, Stockholm-based international foundation states that the Palestinian Authority has been exploiting the declared state of emergency of the coronavirus pandemic since the start of last March to muzzle dissents and restrict public freedoms.

"Skyline" complied testimonies of the arrest of Palestinian activist "Musa Mualla", after he was summoned for investigation by the General Intelligence Service due to posts he shared on social media.

On the 7th of the current month,  Palestinian Authority security forces arrested the anti-corruption activist, "Fayez Sweiti". He is charged with defaming "the national institutions” due to his anti-corruption posts on social media.

Palestinian Authority security forces arrested the activist "Yasser Khattabah" on grounds of his public views criticizing the Palestinian government’s response to the Corona crisis and the corruption of some officials in the Palestinian Authority.

"Skyline" stresses that any arrests in the West Bank or Gaza Strip on grounds of freedom of opinion and expression are a flagrant violation of the Palestinian Basic Law, especially Articles 11 and 19 thereof. They also violate the international conventions and laws and the agreements signed by the Palestinian State.

In this context, these arrests contradict Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which affirms the right to freedom of expression. It may, therefore, be subject to certain restrictions, but these shall only be such as are provided by law and are necessary. 

Moreover, these arrests are inconsistent with Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations General Assembly which affirms the right to freedom of expression and that any restrictions applied in this regard must be subject only to the provisions of the law and what is necessary on the ground.
Skyline International calls on the Palestinian Authority to stop arresting activists and bloggers who criticize government policies and officials, stressing the importance of the good atmosphere for exercising freedom of expression. 

The international human rights foundation calls on the Palestinian Authority to release the three activists and all prisoners of conscience, especially in light of the Coronavirus outbreak in West Bank. Also the detention procedures are unlawful and contradict international law and human rights treaties.