Skyline Condemns Arbitrary Detentions of Palestinian Journalist in West Bank During Pandemic
STOCKHOLM - The International Skyline Foundation today condemns the Palestinian Authority's continued arbitrary arrest of journalist Sami Al-Sai for nearly 20 days due to his posts on social media.
Skyline is deeply concerned about the safety of the journalist " Al-Sai " whose family complained about the poor conditions of his detention, especially in light of the outbreak of the Coronavirus in the West Bank.
According to Al-Sai's family, the Palestinian Preventive Services in Tulkarem (West Bank) arrested “Al-Sai” on June 9th from his workplace. Al-Sai's family has not been able to meet him since that time.
Several Palestinian websites have reported that Al-Sai is detained at the Joint Security Committee in Tulkarem over posts on his Facebook Page and that he may be released within hours.
Two days after the arrest of Al-Sa’i, the court extended his detention for another 15 days, upon the request of the Palestinian Public Prosecution due to charges regarding the Cybercrime Law.
Al-Sai's Lawyer Firas Karajeh said that “the Palestinian Public Prosecution has requested extending Al-Sai detention because, as it claims, he shared the news, information, and images on his Facebook page that violate the Cybercrime laws". However, Al-Sai denied that he has any ties with the news above as the posts were not shared on his Facebook page.
Karajeh added that "Al-Sai has handed over his phone and passwords of his social media accounts to the Palestinian Preventive Security, and after examining the accounts and phone, it has been proved that he had nothing to do with the charges. Also, when the charges were read out before the judge, Al-Sai denied all the accusations. Local news reported that the intended post includes news about Palestinian-Israeli security coordination".
Skyline strongly opposes the Cybercrime Law, which was ratified by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in mid-2017, as it includes grave violations against journalists and activists on social media.
In this context, Skyline emphasizes that such law provides legal cover for several violations practiced by the executive and judicial authorities against journalists and social media users, including blocking news websites, arresting people due to press reports or posts on Facebook.
The International Skyline Foundation calls on the Palestinian Authority to release Al-Sai and all prisoners of conscience, and to stop suppressing public freedoms and freedom of opinion and expression.