PA arrests Palestinian over ties to Al Jazeera
Journalist is facing detainment by Palestinian Authority security forces for visiting Qatar to take Al-Jazeera training course.
The Doha skyline. Photo: REUTERS
A Palestinian journalist from the West Bank complained Tuesday that Palestinian
Authority security forces had been harassing him ever since he visited
The journalist, Tarek al-Sarkaji, said that if visiting Qatar were
a crime in the eyes of the PA security forces, then they should also arrest PA
President Mahmoud Abbas for visiting the Gulf country.
Sarkaji, who lives
in Nablus and also works as a TV producer, said his problems had begun when he
returned to the West Bank after attending a training course for the Doha-based
Al Jazeera TV station.
His father, Yusef, was a senior Hamas commander
who was killed by the IDF in 2002.
Al Jazeera’s relations with the PA
leadership have deteriorated ever since the station published documents about
the peace talks with Israel that were stolen from the office of PLO chief
negotiator Saeb Erekat.
Sarkaji noted that he had never been arrested in
the past, neither by Israel nor by the PA.
“I never imagined that my
first day in detention would be in a Palestinian Authority security prison,” he
said. “Since when was participation in an educational course a criminal charge?”
The journalist said he could not understand why the PA security forces had not
yet arrested Al Jazeera correspondents in Ramallah.
“If traveling to
Qatar is a crime, then it would be preferable to arrest President Mahmoud Abbas,
because he visited Qatar more than I did, and he even has a relationship with
the emir of Qatar,” he added.
According to Sarkaji, ever since his return
to the West Bank, he has been repeatedly summoned for interrogation by two
different security forces: the Preventive Security Force and the General
On one occasion, he said, he was held in Jneid
Prison outside Nablus for 24 hours, during which time he was subjected to
physical and psychological torture.
“They held me in a tiny cell with no
window or ventilation,” he recounted. “I had to hear the screams of another
detainee in a nearby cell who was apparently being mistreated by the security
Sarkaji said his interrogators were interested only in his
ties to Al Jazeera and other people he had met while in Qatar and Jordan.