A PA court in Ramallah on Wednesday ordered a Palestinian journalist who reported about corruption in the Palestinian embassy in France to be remanded into custody for 15 days.

The journalist, Yousef Al-Shayeb, was detained earlier this week following complaints filed against him by the head of the embassy and PA Foreign Minister Riad Malki.

Al-Shayeb, who works for the Jordanian daily newspaper Al-Ghad, published an investigative report earlier this year in which he claimed that the head of the embassy and his deputy were involved in various corruption cases. The report also said that Palestinian diplomats in Paris had been trying to recruit Palestinian students to spy on Islamic groups in France.

Al-Shayeb’s detention drew sharp criticism from Palestinian journalists and human rights groups, who accused the PA of violating media freedoms in the West Bank.

PA officials said the journalist was detained after he refused to reveal the sources of his information.

His lawyer, Daoud Darawi, said that it was the Palestinian media, and not only Al-Shayeb, that was being put on trial.

Darawi said that Palestinian law protects journalists against prosecution and grants them the right not to disclose their sources.

The lawyer said his client was planning to reveal documents which he relied on during his work on the investigative report.

Dozens of Palestinian journalists staged a sit-in strike in front of the court during Wednesday’s hearing and called for the release of Al-Shayeb.

The journalists carried signs calling on the PA to respect freedom of expression and stop its “transgressions” against reporters.

The Palestinian Writers Union condemned the detention of Al-Shayeb as a “dangerous precedent” and urged Palestinians to raise their voice against the crackdown on freedom of expression.

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