The Palestinian Authority’s attorney-general, Ahmed al-Mughni, is unlawfully
detaining journalists and bloggers, Saleh Ra’fat, a member of the PLO Executive
Committee, said on Monday.
Voicing outrage and discontent over the recent
PA crackdown, Ra’fat accused the attorney-general of “cloning the policy of
administrative detention” by ordering the arrest of journalists and bloggers
exposing corruption in the PA and criticizing Palestinian leaders.
the past few weeks, PA security forces in the West Bank arrested four
journalists and a blogger on orders of the attorney-general.
journalists – Rami Samara, Youssef al-Shayeb, Tarek Khamis and Esmat Abdel
Khalik – have since been released, although blogger Jamal Abu Rihan remains in
prison. Rihan created a Facebook group titled “The people want an end to
Ra’fat said the attorney-general refused to release Rihan
this weekend. He called on Palestinian journalists, bloggers and political and
human rights activists to participate in a sit-in strike Wednesday in Ramallah
to protest against press censorship and the repression of
Several other members of the PLO Executive Committee have
expressed resentment over the actions of the attorney-general, Ra’fat
Azmi Shuaibi, a former PA cabinet minister who now heads an
anti-corruption organization in the West Bank, accused Mughni of using his
powers to silence critics and intimidate journalists.
“People are being
arrested for expressing their views,” Shuaibi charged. “They are being punished
by the attorney-general even before a court rules whether they are guilty or
not. The attorney-general is abusing his powers.”