A Palestinian member of Hamas security forces stands in the southern Gaza Strip as pictured on August 11, 2020. Hamas forces arrested journalist Alaa al-Mashrawi. (Reuters/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa)

Hamas security forces arrest journalist Alaa al-Mashrawi in Gaza

New York, November 2, 2021 – Authorities with Hamas, the militant group that controls the Gaza Strip, should immediately release Palestinian journalist Alaa al-Mashrawi, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

At 4 p.m. on October 31, Hamas’ Internal Security Forces arrested al-Mashrawi, director of the local news website Al-Mashreq News and the Al-Mashreq Foundation for Media, which provides training to journalists, near the Saraya junction in downtown Gaza City without informing him of the reason for his arrest, according to the regional press freedom group SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom, a statement by the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate published on Al-Mashreq News, and al-Mashrawi’s brother, journalist Ahmed al-Mashrawi, who spoke to CPJ via messaging app. According to those sources, the security forces also impounded al-Mashrawi’s car.

Two hours later, four Hamas security officers, two of whom were masked, raided al-Mashrawi’s home and seized two laptops, four cell phones, and some work documents, and left without providing any explanation, Ahmed al-Mashrawi told SKeyes.

“Palestinian authorities in Gaza should release Alaa al-Mashrawi immediately and unconditionally,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Representative Ignacio Miguel Delgado. “Arresting him without disclosing charges sends a chilling message to local journalists working in Gaza.”

Al-Mashrawi said that he believes his brother was arrested in connection to his journalistic work, but he did not elaborate as to why he believes so. Al-Mashreq News covers local, national, and international politics, according to CPJ’s review of the website.

According to al-Mashrawi, the journalist is being held at the headquarters of Internal Security Forces in Gaza.

Hamas’ Internal Security Forces did not immediately reply to CPJ’s request for comment sent via messaging app.