A Palestinian Authority court in Bethlehem ordered the release of Palestinian
journalist George Canawati on Tuesday on a 5,000 Jordanian Dinar (about NIS
Canawati, director of Bethlehem Radio 2000, was arrested on
Monday for reporting about a leaflet signed by Fatah’s armed wing, the Aqsa
Martyrs Brigades. The leaflet included threats against Bethlehem’s female mayor,
Vera Baboun. Fatah has denied any link to the leaflet, saying it had been
Palestinian journalists on Tuesday staged a protest outside
the court to demand Canawati’s release.
Baboun has been under attack for
allegedly banning girls from reciting a poem that includes the phrase “Islam is
our religion.” She has also been accused of banning girls from performing at a
local ceremony while wearing a hijab.
Baboun has strongly denied the
allegations, saying they were part of a smear campaign designed to defame her
and remove her from office.
The PA prosecutor-general, Abdel Ghani
Uwaiwi, denied that Canwati’s arrest was linked to his journalistic work. He
insisted that the journalist was arrested for a “criminal
Bethlehem Gov. Abdel Fattah Hamayel hinted that Canawati was
held for forging the Fatah leaflet. He said that Canawati was suspected of
“beating on the sectarian chord, stirring up sedition and defaming a prominent
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