Beirut, December 11, 2019 -- Israeli authorities should disclose any charges against Palestinian journalist Sameh al-Titi or release him immediately, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
On December 9, Israeli soldiers arrested al-Titi, a reporter for the Hebron University-affiliated broadcaster Radio Alam, after raiding his home in Al-Arroub Camp, a Palestinian refugee camp in the West Bank, according to reports by his employer and the Skeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom, a regional press freedom group, as well as Sameh’s brother Alaa al-Titi, who spoke to CPJ via messaging app.
Al-Titi is being held at the Petah Tikva interrogation facility, near Tel Aviv, and authorities have not disclosed any reason for his arrest or any charges against him, according to his brother.
Today, Alaa al-Titi posted on Facebook that a military court prevented his brother from meeting with a lawyer, and extended his detention for an additional eight days while authorities conduct an investigation.
“We are very concerned about the arrest of Sameh al-Titi given Israel’s frequent use of legal measures, including administrative detention, to keep journalists in jail without bringing any charges against them,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Representative Ignacio Miguel Delgado. “Israeli authorities should immediately explain why they are holding al-Titi or let him go.”
Israeli soldiers seized al-Titi’s laptop and cell phone during the raid, according to a Facebook post by Alaa al-Titi.
Apart from his work for Radio Alam, al-Titi has also contributed the Qatar-funded broadcaster Al-Jazeera, the Beirut-based pro-Hezbollah broadcaster Al-Mayadeen, and the Hamas-affiliated Quds News Network.
One day before his arrest, al-Titi published an article on the Quds News Network’s website criticizing the Israeli government for using sports to bolster its international reputation. On December 4, he published an article on Al-Mayadeen’s website about Hamas’ use of tunnels as a defense strategy against Israeli incursions.
The Israeli Defense Forces did not immediately reply to CPJ’s emailed request for comment.