Aziz Kayed

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Kayed, the West Bank director of the Hamas-run Al-Aqsa TV, was arrested by Israeli security forces during a raid of his house in the early morning of June 17, the station reported. Kayed’s daughter, Maryam, told the Palestinian press freedom group MADA that Israeli security forces interrogated her father about his family members before taking him away.

On June 23, an Israeli military court ordered Kayed to be held for six months in administrative detention, Al-Aqsa reported. Under administrative detention procedures, authorities may hold detainees for six months without charge or trial and then extend the detention an unlimited number of times. On October 30, an Israeli military court extended his administrative detention for another four months, the regional press freedom group SKeyes reported. He was being held in Negev detention facility, his daughter told SKeyes.

Israeli authorities have not disclosed any charges against him, but local Palestinian press freedom groups said Kayed’s arrest was part of an Israeli campaign to censor the press and prevent it from reporting on Israeli human rights violations.

Kayed’s daughter, Maryam, told CPJ in December 2014 that she believed her father was detained for his work at Al-Aqsa TV.

Kayed, who previously served as deputy secretary general of a Hamas-led government, was arrested in the intense crackdown against Hamas leaders and institutions in the West Bank. Hundreds of Palestinians were arrested in the sweep, called Operation Brother’s Keeper, as part of Israel’s attempt to find three Israeli teenagers kidnapped on June 12. The Israeli’s bodies were discovered on June 30, according to news reports.

Israeli officials have previously said that journalists working for Al-Aqsa cannot be considered legitimate because of the station’s relationship with Hamas, which the Israeli government considers a terrorist group. In addition to Kayed’s arrest in the West Bank, Israeli security forces raided two Palestinian media companies in June that it claimed provided services to Hamas-affiliated outlets, including Al-Aqsa TV, according to the international rights organization Human Rights Watch and news reports. Al-Aqsa’s cameraman Ahmad al-Khatib and correspondent Mustafa al-Khawaja were also arrested this year. Both remain in prison. Al-Aqsa TV facilities were targeted by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza, part of the 50-day war that resulted from overflowing tensions in the aftermath of the murder of the three teenagers, the murder of a 17-year-old Palestinian, and escalating retaliatory violence committed by all sides, according to news reports.

CPJ believes Kayed, al-Khatib, and al-Khawaja were arrested in relation to their newsgathering for Al-Aqsa TV, whose broadcasts include anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli propaganda, including calls for violence.

Kayed has previously been arrested by both Israeli and the Palestinian Authority in connection with his leadership position in Hamas, according to news reports.