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Beirut, 27/07/2010

Press release

SKeyes denounces the sentencing of journalist Abu Arafeh to 3 months


in prison, and calls for his immediate release

On Monday, July 26, 2010, the Palestinian military tribunal in the city of
Hebron in the West Bank sentenced the journalist Amer Abu Arafeh to three
months in prison and fined him 500 Jordanian dinars, on charges of
“opposing the policies of the public authorities”.
Abu Arafeh had been tortured inside the prison and was under intensive
interrogation, causing his health to deteriorate as a result of mistreatment.
Abu Arafeh was the correspondent of the Shehab News Agency. He spent
several years in Israeli prisons. He is a student of journalism at the
University of Hebron. He was arrested at his home by the Palestinian
intelligence service on May 11.
The Shehab News Agency condemned the trial of its correspondent in the
West Bank, which it deemed to be “illegal and unjust”, and called on human
rights and press organizations to act to release him and all other detained
journalists. The agency also called on the Palestinian human rights and press
groups to work on securing Abu Arafeh’s release, and on putting an end to
the crackdown against media freedoms.
The SKeyes Centre for Media and Cultural Freedoms denounces the tragic
situation besetting media freedoms in the West Bank, and believes that
putting a journalist on trial is a dangerous precedent being perpetrated for
the second time, in blatant violation of human rights and media freedoms.
SKeyes considers the sentence against the journalist Abu Arafeh and before
him against Tareq Abu Zeid, to be a dangerous indicator of an ongoing
crackdown against freedoms, journalists and opinions, and a continuation of
the series of summonses, threats and arrests against journalists.
SKeyes calls on President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam
Fayyad to uphold the law and preserve the freedom of the journalists, and to
immediately release all the detained journalists, who are: Samer
Rouwaished, Tareq Abu Zeid, Amer Abu Arafeh, Mohammad Izzat al-
Halayqa, and Khaldoun al-Mazloum.

Samir Kassir Foundation, Aref Saghieh Bldg.( Ground Floor), 63, Zahrani St., Sioufi, Achrafieh, Beirut, Lebanon
Tel /Fax: 00961 1 397334, Mobile: 00961 3 372717, E-Mail Address: info@skeyesmedia.org