|Photo by: REUTERS/Mohammed Salem|
Gaza cops use ‘beatings, stun guns’ on women reporters
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH
Hamas security personnel raid offices of media organizations, including Reuters and CNN, confiscate equipment and documents.
A number of Palestinian women journalists complained on Sunday that they had
been beaten and tortured by Hamas security forces in the Gaza Strip.
said the assaults occurred in recent days when they and their colleagues tried
to cover pro-unity rallies in different parts of the Gaza Strip.
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policemen used force to disperse the protesters, who were calling for an end to
the dispute between the Islamist movement and Fatah. The rallies were part of a
Facebook campaign organized by Palestinian youth on March 15.
eight journalists were beaten by the Hamas police officers during the
Some had their cameras and laptops confiscated, while others
were taken into custody and made to sign a document pledging to refrain from
covering such events in the future.
Later, Hamas security personnel
raided the offices of a number of media organizations and confiscated equipment
and documents. Among the offices targeted were Reuters, CNN and a Japanese TV
One of the female journalists, Samah Ahmed, complained that a
Hamas policeman in military uniform stabbed her in the back as she tried to
leave the al-Katiba Square, where pro-unity protesters were staging a sit-in
She said that she and another female journalist, Asma al- Ghoul,
were later also beaten with clubs before they were taken to
“At the police station, they continued to beat us and curse
us,” Ahmed told the Palestinian news agency Aswar Press. “When they realized
that I was bleeding from the area where I was stabbed, the police interrogators
sent me to hospital.”
She added that the Hamas police officers who
accompanied her to the hospital forced the medical team to admit her under a
different name and to list her as a victim of a traffic accident.
al-Sirsawi, another woman who works as a journalist in the Gaza Strip, said that
the police officers who attacked the demonstrators beat her
“They used electrical shocks against us,” she said. “They beat
me so strongly that I lost consciousness and fell to the ground. I woke up only
15 minutes later.”
Two more female journalists, Manal Khamis and Dima
al-Lababidi, also complained that Hamas policemen had beaten them up during the
demonstration. Khamis said that the policemen confiscated her mobile phone and
attacked her physically. Al- Lababidi accused the Hamas policemen of hitting her
on the back with an iron chair.
The two said that the Hamas security
officers also set fire to a tent that was being used by the journalists in the
The Hamas government last week apologized for the attacks on some
of the journalists and promised to launch an investigation. The apology came
during a meeting between representatives of the journalists and the Hamas