Beirut, February 16, 2018–The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned by the arrest of Palestinian journalist Abdul Mohsen Shalaldeh. Israeli security forces arrested Shalaldeh, a reporter for the Hamas-affiliated Quds News Network, at his home in the southern West Bank town of Sa’ir, on February 15, according to news reports, the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, and Shalaldeh’s brother, Loay.
Loay Shalaldeh and Nabhan Khraishi, the communication officer of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, told CPJ that Israeli troops seized three phones–two of which belonged to Abdul Mohsen Shalaldeh –and a laptop, in a dawn raid on the journalist’s house.
Loay Shalaldeh added that the family has not been told where his brother is being held or the reason for his arrest.
The Israeli Defense Forces did not immediately reply to CPJ’s email requesting comment.
“Israeli security forces should either bring charges against Palestinian journalist Abdul Mohsen Shalaldeh so that he can defend himself, or release him immediately and cease interfering with his ability to do his job,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour from Washington, D.C.
Shalaldeh covers human interest stories and news in the West Bank for the news website, Quds News Network. Recent stories includes a piece on a young Palestinian who continues to protest at al-Arroub refugee camp despite being injured several times by Israeli forces and on the son of a suicide bomber excelling in high school.
Palestinian authorities blocked access to Quds and several other news websites affiliated with Hamas and former Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan in June 2017, according to the regional press freedom group SKeyes. The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate said that access to Quds in the West Bank is still blocked.
Shalaldeh also shared posts and commentary on his Facebook page, including a picture earlier this month of Hamas activist Ahmed Nasser Jarrer, who was killed by Israeli security forces on February 6. The Israeli home security service accused Jarrer of being responsible for the murder of a rabbi last month, news reports said.
Shalaldeh was previously detained for questioning by the Palestinian General Intelligence Service in the West Bank city of Bethlehem in mid-July for conducting street interviews about a Palestinian cybercrime law, according to news reports.