The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate in the Gaza Strip on Saturday called for the release of Palestinian journalists who have been arrested by Palestinian Authority security forces in the West Bank.

The syndicate warned that freedom of expression had "seriously deteriorated" in the West Bank, especially in the past few weeks.

It pointed out that PA security forces arrested five Palestinian journalists in the past month - two of whom remain in prison.

One of the journalists, Walid Khaled, has been on hunger strike since his arrest on September 18, the syndicate said. Khaled was arrested by the PA only days after he had been released from Israeli prison.

Khaled works for the Palestinian newspaper Falasteen. Last week a PA judge ordered his release, but the PA has refused to obey the order.

The second journalist is Mohammed Muna, who works as a correspondent for the Quds Press news agency. He too had previously been imprisoned by Israel.

Since his release from Israeli prison, the PA security forces have arrested him at least five times before the last incarceration.

The two journalists were among dozens of Palestinians who were rounded up by various PA security forces in the West Bank in recent weeks on suspicion of being affiliated with Hamas.

PA security sources said that the two journalists were arrested supporting Hamas and inciting against the PA leadership.

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