Geneva- The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor is gravely concerned by the Palestinian Authority’s assasult on the freedom of expression in the West Bank, represented by the recent arrest of human rights defener Issa Amro, the coordiner of Youth Aginst Settlements Movement in Hebron, over a Facebook post criticizing the PA.
Euro-Med Monitor notes that PA’s arresst of Amro is over his criticism of the PA’s arrest of Ayman Alqawasmi, the head of Minbar Alhuryia radio station, which was shut down by Israel, following Alqawasmi’s criticism of the PA’s silence over Israel’s shut down of the local radio station.
"The PA’s security forces’ arrest of Palestinians in the West Bank violates the agreements and laws signed by the PA itself," says Sandra Owen, spokesperson for Euro-Med Monitor. "Such acts aim at silencing critics and target Palestinians’ right to freedom of expression in an attempt to spread fear among them."
Amro asserted before going to meet the PA’s security forces that his Facebook post is in line with the freedom of expression and the Palestinian Basic Law and that he will continue to defend journalists in Palestine.
Euro-Med Monitor calls on the PA to stop summoning and arresting Palestinian journalists over expressing their opinions, and asserts that the PA continues to arrest Palestinians over expressing their opinions without directing specific charges against them, which violates international agreements that guarantee the right to freedom of expression.
Euro-Med Monitor calls on the PA to release Issa Amro and Ayman Alqawasmi, and to bring those responsible for torture and arrest at the PA’s prisons to justice.
It is worth mentioning that the PA’s security forces arrested human rights worker Bara’a Alamer from the campus of Al-Najah National University on August 27, 2017, without a legal justification. Alamer, who is an intern at the Euro-Med Monitor, was beaten using sticks when he was arrested.