Israeli forces detained West Bank Bureau Chief Ali of the Hamas-affiliated daily Palestine at his home near the West Bank city of Salfeit on May 18, the journalist’s wife told CPJ.
Ali’s attorney, Tamar Pelleg, told CPJ that on June 12, an Israeli military judge approved the six-month administrative detention order issued by an Israeli military commander against the reporter. Pelleg appealed the decision, but it was upheld by a military appellate judge on July 16. In November, Pelleg said, a judge extended the detention for another six months.
According to court documents obtained by CPJ, the appellate judge ruled that “in light of the appellant’s recent propensity for military activity, I came to the conclusion that the security of the area and the public obligate the detention.”
Despite that assertion, Pelleg said she believed Ali’s work at Palestine played a role in the detention. Israeli authorities did not detail the factual basis for the detention, and the evidence remained secret.
Ali has been transferred among several prisons and kept in solitary confinement since early September, his wife told CPJ. Mustafa al-Sawaf, the paper’s editor, said he believed Ali was arrested because of his work for the paper.
Pelleg told CPJ that Ali was accused of being a prominent leader in Hamas, although her client had not been charged with any offense and the evidence used to hold him remained secret. She added that Ali did not deny knowing Hamas members but said that his ties to them were purely social. Ali previously served more than four years in administrative detention without charge. He was released in August 2006.