Israeli military forces arrested Palestinian journalist Ameer Abu Iram, a reporter and cameraman for the Palestinian news website Al Ersal Network, on November 5, 2023. He was placed in administrative detention for six months.
Israeli soldiers raided Abu Iram’s home in Birzeit, north of Ramallah, and arrested the journalist, according to Palestinian press freedom group MADA. A video of the arrest was published on Al-Ersal Network’s Facebook page. Abu Iram wasn’t notified of the charges against him or the reasons for his arrest, Abu Iram´s wife, Joman Abu Arafa, told CPJ.
She said that Abu Iram had been placed in administrative detention on November 7 and that he was being held in Ofer Prison in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. The official Commission of Detainees Affairs said in a Facebook post that the detention was for six months. Under administrative detention procedures, authorities may hold detainees for six months without charge if they suspect the detainee of planning to commit a future offense, and then extend the detention an unlimited number of times, according to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem. Judges may accept evidence against the detainee without disclosing it on security grounds.
Abu Iram has covered Israeli arrests of young Palestinian protesters, the release of Palestinian activists from prison, and Israeli settler harassment of Palestinians. In summer 2023, he covered an Israeli military incursion in Jenin and wrote a post on his personal Facebook page criticizing Israeli forces for shooting journalist Moamen Samreen with a rubber bullet in the head, even though he was clearly identified as a journalist.
Abu Iram is one of the 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, prompting 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.
Abu Arafa told CPJ that in late 2017, when her husband was a reporter for the Hamas-affiliated channel Al-Aqsa TV, he was arrested for several weeks for his journalism. Israel banned Al-Aqsa TV in 2018.
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.