Palestinian Authority Continues Detention
of Sheikh Abdullah al-Shami for Writings

| Help Protest This Law | Protest Index | CPJ Home |

.

.

.

 

September 10, 1998


His Excellency Yasser Arafat
President
Palestinian National Authority
Gaza City, Gaza


Your Excellency:

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is writing to express deep concern about the ongoing detention of Sheikh Abdullah al-Shami, a school teacher from the Gaza Strip and a contributor to the Islamist weekly Al-Istiqlal.

On the afternoon of August 18, 1998, al-Shami was detained without warrant at his home in al-Shujaeyyah by a group of officers from the Palestinian Authority's Criminal Investigation Unit. The detention followed the publication of an article in the August 14, 1998, edition of Al-Istiqlal titled "Change of Ministers or Persistence of Sin," in which al-Shami described what he called "the growing resentment in the street toward those ministers portrayed as the symbols of financial and administrative corruption in the newly formed cabinet of ministers." According to local human rights activists, al-Shami has been denied access to an attorney in addition to visits from family members. His current whereabouts are unknown.

CPJ, a nonpartisan organization of journalists dedicated to defending press freedom worldwide, believes that Abdullah al-Shami has been detained by the Palestinian Authority for having practiced his internationally recognized right to freedom of expression. We urge Your Excellency to ensure al-Shami's immediate and unconditional release unless it can be credibly demonstrated that he has committed a recognizable criminal offense under international law.

I thank you for your attention to this urgent matter and look forward to your reply.

 

Sincerely,

Ann K. Cooper

Executive Director



Help Free Sheikh Abdullah al-Shami

Add your voice to CPJ's
Send a fax to:

His Excellency
Yasser Arafat
President
Palestinian National Authority
Gaza City, Gaza

972-7-282-3744