Israeli authorities arrested Hazem Naser, a camera operator for the Jordanian broadcaster Al-Ghad TV, in May 2021, and in mid-July he was sentenced to three months in detention for alleged incitement on Facebook and entering Israel illegally. In late July, authorities placed him under administrative detention for an additional six months.
On May 12, Israeli forces at a military checkpoint in the West Bank city of Tulkarem arrested Naser, who was on his way home after covering clashes in the city, according to his employer, news reports, and a report by the Skeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom, a regional press freedom group.
In an Al-Ghad broadcast on May 12, the outlet’s Hebron correspondent Raed al-Sharif said that he had lost contact with Naser and believed that the Israeli army had arrested him and seized his car. Initially, authorities did not disclose the reason for Naser’s arrest.
On May 13, Al-Ghad published a report that an Israeli court had extended Naser’s detention for 11 days. On May 30, an Israeli court extended Naser’s detention for an extra eight days, according to a report by Al-Ghad.
Naser was subsequently transferred to the Al-Jalameh investigation center, according to a report by MADA, a Palestinian press freedom group.
On July 14, the Salem Military Court sentenced Naser to three months in jail on charges of incitement on Facebook and entering Israel illegally, according to a news report citing Naser’s father, Imad Naser, and a statement by the prisoner support group Asra Media Office. At the request of the military prosecutor, Naser’s sentencing included a clause that allowed him to be transferred to administrative detention after he completed his sentence, meaning authorities do not have to file charges or produce evidence against Nasar to keep him there. The Asra Media Office believes this decision is in retaliation to Naser’s work as a journalist.
CPJ reviewed two Facebook accounts belonging to Naser, but did not find any material that could constitute incitement. His most recent posts are dated July 2020, nearly a year before his arrest.
In late July, Naser was placed in administrative detention for six months, according to local news reports citing family sources. On September 3, Palestinian journalist Moath Hamed told CPJ that Naser is being held in Megiddo Prison.
When CPJ emailed the Israel Defense Force’s North America Media Desk for comment on Naser’s case, a representative referred CPJ to the Public Diplomacy Office. CPJ emailed that office in September 2021 but did not receive any reply.
Israeli forces previously arrested Naser in 2016, and Palestinian forces held him in 2018, as CPJ documented at the time.
In early September 2021, CPJ reached out via messaging app to Palestinian Prisoner Club, a prisoner support group, to inquire about the current whereabouts of Naser but did not receive a response.