AWMW in UK Call for Release of Aljazeera Journalist Held in Israel
Arab Women Media Watch Centre in UK joined the call of The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today and their affiliate in Palestine, the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate (PJS), and Al Jazeera for the immediate release of Palestinian journalist Samer Allawy who was arrested by the Israeli authorities on 9 August. Samer, who is Al Jazeera Bureau Chief in Afghanistan, was arrested on the West Bank border with Jordan and detained at Al Jalama prison, while he was travelling on his way back to work after spending his vacation with his family in the Nablus city.
“The Israeli authorities have a bad record over the years of intimidating journalists and fabricating reasons to hinder the work of media professionals. Under the guise of “security” Israel has been taking quite extraordinary measures and blatant hostility towards journalists resorting to deportation, banning, arresting, intimidating, physically abusing and even killing journalists. We call upon our colleagues, the Israeli journalists to show solidarity and make an effort and help, by making the Israeli authorities understand that there are shared journalism values all over the world calling for protecting the people who are only doing their jobs” said Iqbal Tamimi, Director of Arab Women Media Watch in UK.
“The Israeli authorities have failed to provide any reason for Samer’s arrest and we urge them to release him to his family and colleague,” said Jim Boumelha, IFJ President. “His detention is a violation of his fundamental rights which must end forthwith. We fully support the PJS and Al Jazeera’s efforts to secure his release.”
The PJS and Al Jazeera organised a joint demonstration on Wednesday outside the prison near Ramallah where Samer is held, to demand his release almost a month after his arrest. Protesters also asked Israeli authorities to free Nawaf al Amer of Al Quds satellite channel, Amer abu Arfa, correspondent of Shehab News Agency and journalist Mohamed Bacharat who are in Israeli prisons.
The PJS President Abdelnnaser Najjar accused the Israeli military of holding Samer in an attempt to obtain information about his work in Afghanistan for the Qatari based television network.
The Federation says that the continued intimidation of Palestinian journalists by Israeli forces through arbitrary arrests and detention undermines the efforts to create an environment of tolerance and dialogue between the two communities.
“This crackdown on Palestinian journalists is unfortunate because it denies people across the divide access to impartial and responsible information,” added Beth Costa, IFJ General Secretary. “The PJS tireless efforts to promote professional journalism in Palestine should be supported by responsible politicians, instead of being sabotaged on the basis of prejudice and repression.”