Palestinian Territories: Skyline demands release of photojournalist "Mohammed Ateeq" and appeals to government to end security services' attacks on journalists
Stockholm - Skyline International for Human Rights calls on the Palestinian government to end escalating abuses by the security services in the West Bank, such as the arrest of journalists, subjecting them to torture and degrading treatment. It stresses that these practices seriously violate a wide range of international law's rules.
In a statement released today, Sunday, Skyline states that it is closely monitoring the repressive practices of the Palestinian security services against journalists in various West Bank cities against the backdrop of their journalistic work.
"Skyline" reports that the Palestinian Authority security forces arrested photojournalist "Mohammed Ateeq" in the last hours after storming his house in Burqin, Jenin, without knowing any legal basis or the reasons for this arrest.
Skyline points out that the arrest of "Atiq" came just hours after the security services arrested journalist "Mujahid al-Saadi" after he filmed Palestinian forces storming a citizen's home and confiscating his phone before releasing him.
Moreover, Skyline indicatea that these violations were preceded by similar repressive practices in August, when Palestinian intelligence arrested Palestine Post website correspondent and photographer Mujahid Tabanja in Nablus on August 11 without knowing the reasons. He was arrested and his lawyer was prevented from visiting him in Junaid Prison or obtaining a power of attorney from him, after which he was released.
According to human rights organisations and local sources, "Tabanja" was tortured and subjected to harsh interrogation in which he was beaten with feet or hands, "hoses" on the body and "the mind". He was also placed in a cell "not suitable for human life, and the interrogators threatened him not to talk about what happened." With him from torture, according to what the Committee to Support Journalists quoted from the reporter.
Skyline stresses that the information it has observed about the practices of the security services in the West Bank seriously and unacceptably violates the rules of international law that guarantee freedom of opinion, expression and journalistic work without restriction or persecution. It also emphasizes that these violations seriously affect the fundamental rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
In this context, Skyline stresses that the Palestinian government's dismissive attitude toward executive practices against freedom of opinion and expression - and the lack of legal oversight of these practices - provide a tacit cover for further violations, notwithstanding the rules of international law and the Palestinian Basic Law, which guarantee freedom of press work, opinion, and expression.
At the end of its statement, Skyline calls on the Palestinian government to take urgent measures to release the photojournalist "Mohammed Ateeq" and all those detained for political reasons or for expressing their opinions. It also demand the Palestinian government to stop the relevant trials, to ensure the prevention of attacks by the security services against peaceful gatherings, to investigate allegations of torture and hold those responsible for violations against detainees accountable.