New York, March 3, 2009--The Committee to Protect Journalists called for the immediate release
of a journalist who has been detained since late January by the Palestinian Authority
(PA) after its release of another journalist in the West Bank on Monday.
The PA's Preventive Security Service freed Samer Khuaira,
the Nablus correspondent
for the London-based al-Quds TV station. Khuaira was arrested on January 24
after being summoned to the service's Nablus
offices. He said that he and al-Quds TV were accused of having a bias toward
Hamas, which he denied. Khuaira told CPJ that he spent a week in solitary
confinement in al-Junaid prison in Nablus
before he was transferred to a general holding cell in the same prison.
"We welcome the release of our colleague Samer Khuaira, but we're
troubled by the ongoing detention of al-Quds TV correspondent Ahmad Bekawi,"
said Mohamed Abdel Dayem, CPJ's
and North Africa program coordinator. "We call on the
Palestinian Authority to release Bekawi immediately."
Bekawi is the Jenin correspondent
for al-Quds TV. He was detained after being called to the offices of Military
Intelligence on January 26, Nawaf al-Amr, the West Bank
coordinator for al-Quds TV, told CPJ at the time of his arrest. Al-Amr said on
Monday that the station's lawyer was only able to see Bekawi at al-Junaid
prison once, with prison officials present throughout the visit
Also recently detained
and released was Issam
al-Rimawi, a cameraman with the PA-aligned Palestinian News Agency, al-Rimawi
told CPJ. He was picked up by security forces on January 26, held at Beitunia
Prison near Ramallah, and released on February 10.
Since Hamas took control of Gaza in June 2007, both
Hamas and the Fatah-controlled PA have
detained journalists who have
not toed the respective official lines. Each party has
a ban on the distribution
of publications they perceive as partisan.