PA police in training demonstration in Ramallah 370 (R).
(photo credit: Mohamad Torokman / Reuters)
Jamal Abu Rihan, a Palestinian blogger who spent 36 days in a Palestinian
Authority prison in the West Bank for demanding an end to corruption, said
Saturday that his interrogation focused mostly on his activities on
Released last week, Abu Rihan was arrested as part of a PA
crackdown on journalists, bloggers and Facebook users who reported about
corruption or criticized Palestinian leaders.
He was detained on
instructions from the PA attorney-general, Ahmed al-Mughni, after creating a
Facebook group called “The people want to end corruption.”
The term was
inspired by the Arab Spring, where anti-government protesters have been chanting,
“The people want regime change.”
Abu Rihan said he decided to set up the
Facebook group “to combat and end rampant corruption, which has harmed the
social and national interests of the Palestinian people.”
He said there
had been no reason for him to remain in detention for more than a month because
he had been accused only of a misdemeanor, something that usually results in
release on bail after one or two days.
“Most of the questions centered
around my activity with the Facebook group,” Abu Rihan told the London-based
“This confirms that I was arrested only
because of my being a blogger.”
He said he had never named any
Palestinian official in connection with corruption.
“I was writing about
the phenomenon of corruption,” he added. “I did not accuse anyone of being
Freedom of expression under the PA is limited, something that
can be seen in the arrest of journalists, bloggers and critics, and the blocking
of some websites and TV programs, Abu Rihan said.