Amer Abu Arafa

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An Israeli military court ordered that Abu Arafa, a correspondent for the Gaza-based Shihab News Agency, be held in administrative detention. Under administrative detention procedures, authorities may hold an individual for six months without charge or trial and may extend the detention an unlimited number of times. Abu Arafa’s detention was extended most recently in October 2012. His family told Shihab that authorities had accused the journalist of being a “security threat,” although no formal charges had been filed by late 2012.

The news agency, based in the Gaza Strip, pursues an editorial line that is critical of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, CPJ research shows. Abu Arafa covered news in Hebron and the surrounding area for the agency, Shihab told CPJ. Shortly before his arrest, in August 2011, Abu Arafa wrote a story about the arrests of 120 Hamas members by Israeli authorities in Hebron, Shihab told CPJ.

Abu Arafa had been arrested before, in May 2010, by Palestinian security forces, CPJ research shows. His father told Shihab that his son was taken from their home by Palestinian intelligence agents for reasons linked to his work. Two months later, a Palestinian court sentenced Abu Arafa to three months in prison and a fine of 500 Jordanian dinars (US$700) after finding him guilty of “resisting the policies of the authorities” in connection with his reporting, Shihab told CPJ at the time.