The Israel Defense Forces arrested Palestinian journalist Abdel Nasser al-Laham, a photographer covering local news for the Ma’an News Agency, on October 16, 2023. He is being held without charge at Ofer Prison, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
IDF forces broke down the door to al-Laham’s home in the Dheisheh refugee camp, south of Bethlehem, at 6:30 a.m., pointed their guns at the journalist, tied his hands behind his back, and blindfolded him, al-Laham’s father, Mohammad al-Laham told Ma’an, which published a video of soldiers leading the journalist away.
Al-Laham´s father told CPJ that his son was questioned about activities during his time at university, though was unable to specify what. According to news reports, al-Laham majored in media technology at the Palestine National University.
The journalist’s father said al-Laham has had at least two court hearings, and that his detention was extended multiple times. The journalist’s lawyer was able to see him in court and he is in good health, al-Laham’s father said.
Al-Laham is one of at least 17 Palestinian journalists in Israeli custody as of December 1, 2023, the date of CPJ’s annual prison census. Palestinian officials say Israeli forces have conducted mass arrests in the occupied West Bank since October 7, when Hamas attacked Israel, leading Israel to declare war on the militant group. Dozens of members of the press have died, the vast majority Palestinian journalists and media workers killed in Israeli airstrikes on Gaza. There have also been numerous reports of assault, threats, cyberattacks, and censorship.
In 2017, al-Laham, then 15, was imprisoned for eight months in Ofer Prison, according to news reports. He was briefly arrested again in Jerusalem in May 2021 while he was on his way to the mosque for dawn prayers, according to news reports.
CPJ emailed the Israel Security Agency, also known as the Shin Bet, in late 2023 for comment on the cases of imprisoned Palestinian journalists but received no response.