Palestinian Authority security forces arrested Tuesday a Palestinian journalist
in Ramallah who posted a critical remark about the PA leadership on his Facebook
The journalist, Rami Samara, works for the PA’s official news
agency Wafa, and the privately owned Ajyal radio station.
another Palestinian journalist who protested against the arrest of Samara, was
also arrested by PA security forces.
The two journalists were released a
few hours later following protests by Palestinian journalists and human rights
Samara said he was questioned separately by two
Palestinian security agencies about his activities on Facebook and his
The comment that landed Samara in prison was in response to a story
entitled, “Palestinian leadership holds Israel responsible for failure of Amman
The story was published following a meeting of the PLO Executive
Committee in Ramallah, which was chaired by PA President Mahmoud Abbas, and
which blamed Israel for the failure of the recent Israeli-Palestinian talks in
In his comment on Facebook, Samara wrote: “OK, no joking now, do
the members of the ‘sole legitimate leadership of the Palestinian people’
believe that this announcement is worth their sitting in their seats in the
Mukata [presidential compound], turning on the heaters and drinking coffee and
Samara was arrested while he was working at the offices of the Wafa news
agency, a Palestinian journalist told The Jerusalem Post
the Ajyal radio station called on Palestinian journalists to stage a sit-in
strike in the center of Ramallah to demand the release of their
Samara is the second Palestinian journalist to be arrested for
criticizing the PA leadership on Facebook.
In January 2011, Mamdouh
Hamarneh, who works for a local TV station, was detained for 50 days by PA
security forces in Bethlehem.
Hamarneh was taken into custody because of
a photo that appeared on his Facebook page that depicts Abbas standing next to a
Syrian actor who portrayed a spy in a popular Syrian soap opera.
was charged in a PA court with libel and slander against Abbas under an
antiquated Jordanian law that bans anyone from “prolonging his or her tongue at