GENEVA – Geneva Council for Rights and Liberties calls for the release of the Palestinian journalist, Abdel-Rahman Asaad Daher, 38, who has been detained since August 19 August, by the Palestinian security services in the West Bank for practicing his right to freedom of expression.
Geneva Council has learned that Abdel-Rahman Daher, a resident of Nablus in the northern West Bank, and a director and production manager at the Al-Najah Media Center, was arrested by the PA’s Preventive Security forces on 8/17/2020, after leaving his workplace in Nablus, and kept him under detention without informing his family.
Two days later, after midnight, he was brought to his house, handcuffed, amid an atmosphere of extreme secrecy and intimidation of his wife and two children (4-8 years). His house was searched for 40 minutes without producing a search warrant. They confiscated his mobile phone was then took him back to Al-Junaid Prison in Nablus. On August 25, 2020, Abdel-Rahman’s detention was extended Abd al-Rahman for a period of one week to pursue the investigation procedures according to the request of the Public Prosecution submitted to the court. he was accused of “defaming the Palestinian Authority” for publishing material critical of the PA, including posts on Facebook criticizing Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh as well as the art he had produced while living outside Palestine. Palestinian human rights organizations submitted several requests for the release of the journalist Daher but the Public Prosecution refused them justifying the continued detention for the purpose of completing the investigation procedures, as he refused to release him in a session held in August 31, 2020. During this session, the Nablus magistrate court refused to allow journalists to attend and cover the session, in clear violation of the principle of the publicity of the trial. A lawyer with Lawyers For Justice confirmed that the investigation carried out with the journalist, which he was carrying out due to his work and satirical TV programs produced in the years 2016 and 2017, which criticized politicians and the Palestinian reality.
The defense attorney, Muhannad Karajeh, stated that the investigation of the detained activist Abdul Rahman Daher has nothing to do with any criminal incidents, and confirmed that it about his artistic and media work only. A new session will be held for journalist Daher, next Thursday 9/17/2020, according to what his wife Rasha Zahir told Geneva Council. While the Geneva Council for Rights and Liberties condemns the arrest of journalist Abdul Rahman Daher and his continued detention, it considers this as arbitrary use of power and an attempt to silence dissents’ voices.
GCRL also denounces the circumstances of Dher’s arrest that amount to enforced disappearance, as his family was not officially informed of his arrest, and his house was searched without any legal warrant, which is a breach Palestinian Authorities’ obligation to respect covenants on human rights.
It believes that the charges against the Palestinian journalist Daher have nothing to do with a criminal act, but are related to his work and his right to freedom of opinion and expression.
Geneva Council for Rights and Liberties calls for the immediate release of journalist Abdel-Rahman Daher ahead of his trial and reiterates the demand for an end to the policy of arresting journalists for practicing their right to freedom of expression, and to the judicial harassment against journalists and dissenting voices to silence them.