Israel extends detention of Palestinian cartoonist again

A military court in the city of Ashkelon extended the detention of Mohammad Saba’aneh, a Palestinian cartoonist for Al-Hayat al-Jadida, on February 28, 2013, for a second time, according to news reports. His detention was extended for eight days, Al-Hayat al-Jadida reported citing the cartoonist’s lawyer.

Saba’aneh was arrested on February 16 while crossing the Allenby Bridge checkpoint from Jordan. His detention was originally extended for nine days on February 20. The cartoonist’s lawyer appealed the extension and requested permission to see the journalist, in what would be the first time since the arrest.

Israeli authorities said they were investigating the cartoonist for providing services to hostile organizations, according to the cartoonist’s lawyer. No formal charges have been announced.

The cartoonist has been transferred from the Jalemeh detention center to Ashkelon prison, according to news reports. Dozens of protesters staged a rally in front of the Al-Hayat al-Jadida building on February 28, 2013, to show their support for Saba’aneh and other detained Palestinians.

Saba’aneh’s family issued an open letter that stated their concerns over his health and cited the recent death of Arafat Jaradat, a Palestinian man who died in Israeli custody under disputed circumstances.