Palestinian security forces arrested journalist Alaa al-Mashrawi in October 2021, and he is being held in Gaza City while under investigation. The journalist’s brother told CPJ that authorities had not provided a reason for al-Mashrawi’s arrest, but he believed it was related to his journalism.
Al-Mashrawi is a Palestinian journalist, editor-in-chief of the local news website Al-Mashreq News, which covers local, regional, and international news, and director of Al-Mashreq Foundation for Media, which provides training to local journalists. Al-Mashrawi occasionally writes news stories about Palestinian politics, and columns on topics, most recently which include an online campaign calling for the boycott of the Palestinian telecommunications company Jawwal, according to a CPJ’s review of his work.
At 4 p.m. on October 31, Hamas Internal Security Forces arrested al-Mashrawi in downtown Gaza City and impounded his car 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, Ahmed al-Mashrawi, who spoke to CPJ via messaging app.
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. Ahmed al-Mashrawi told CPJ on November 4 that he believed his brother was arrested because of his journalistic work, but said he could not elaborate on which particular articles or coverage could have prompted the arrest.
On November 4, Ahmed al-Mashrawi, told CPJ that Al-Mashrawi’s detention was extended 15 days by the Internal Security Forces’ military prosecutor to complete the investigation, adding that the journalist is being questioned by Palestinian internal security forces and trial date had not been set.
Hamas’ Internal Security Forces did not immediately reply to CPJ’s request for comment sent via messaging app on November 2.
CPJ has documented several instances where Hamas has arrested journalists and kept them in custody for interrogation over articles critical of its performance or leaders.