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Beirut, July 14, 2010

Press Release
Hamas’s police detain journalists covering a rally in Gaza

Gaza - a SKeyes special report


On the evening of Tuesday, July 13, 2010, the police forces affiliated with the Hamas
dismissed government in Gaza arrested the photographer of AFP the journalist
Mohammed Baba, along with a number of journalists while they were covering the rally
organized by Hizb-u-Tahrir in the Maqqousi region in the northern Gaza Strip.
The journalists told SKeyes that they were shocked by the manner in which their cameras
and computers were confiscated, following which they were dragged to the Shatee police
station, where the contents of their cameras were examined. They were then forced to
sign pledges to not publish any photos of the rally (they were forced to write the pledges
themselves).
In an exclusive statement he gave to SKeyes, Baba said that he was preparing to get in his
car when a policeman approached him and asked him whether he took photos of the rally,
something that he denied doing. Then when he got in his car, he was surprised by a grey
Jeep Magnum parking next to him, and several policemen descending from it. They
opened the backdoor of his car and took his laptop, while he tried to prevent them. They
also took the camera. Baba said that the policeman ordered him to follow them to the
police station.
Baba added: “I followed them to the police station where they left me alone in a room for
almost an hour, after taking my press card and my mobile phone, and searched the
camera looking for photos of the rally, but found none”. He then said that the police
forced him to write down a pledge and sign it, promising that he will not publish any
photos of the Hizb-u-tahrir’s rally.
Meanwhile, SKeyes’s lawyer in the Gaza Strip followed up the cases of the other
journalists being detained at the Shatee police station. She was told by sources in the
police that “their detention will continue until the examination of the cameras’ contents is
over, and the identity of the shooter during the Hizb-u-tahrir rally is revealed (the shooter
injured a woman who was in the street)”.
SKeyes’s correspondent was not able to obtain any information about the remaining
detained journalists, after the police sources refused to divulge any information, telling
SKeyes that “the affair is amicable, that it involves neither detention nor arrest, and that
they will be released soon.”
The SKeyes Centre for Media and Cultural Freedom strongly denounces the violations
and assaults perpetrated against journalists while they are carrying out their jobs, and
deplores their detention, the confiscation of their cameras and equipment and tampering
with their contents, and the fact that they were forced to sign pledges promising not to
publish photos they took while covering the rally. SKeyes expresses its regret that such
acts are being perpetrated by policemen who must otherwise protect the journalists and
facilitate their jobs, and calls on those concerned in the Gaza Strip to investigate these
violations, and to put an end to them and all abuses by any party.

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
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