In the latest assault on Palestinian journalists, Israeli security forces on Tuesday, October 27, arrested Palestinian journalist-filmmaker Abdelrahman al-Thaher from his home in the occupied West Bank. According to al-Thaher’s wife, Rasha al-Sayeh, the Israeli forces conducted a search for him at 2 AM in their neighborhood. They searched their house and went through the journalist’s personal belongings. The Israeli soldiers finally arrested him without providing any reason or cause.
Al-Thaher had reportedly also been arrested by the Palestinian preventive security agency in August this year while he was leaving the An-Najah media centre in Nablus, where he had been working as a producer and presenter of various TV shows. After his arrest, the Palestinian security forces also raided his home and took away his personal property as well as his work-related items, such as his laptop, files and other equipment. He was later slapped with charges including “insulting the authority” for some of his social media posts. The Palestinian authorities used the recently passed Electronic Crimes Law of 2017 against Al-Thaher, under which he was kept under Palestinian detention until September 21 and slapped with a fine of 5000 Jordanian Dinars (USD 7052.2).
The Palestine International Forum for Information and Communication in a statement denounced the journalist’s arrest, demanding that the Israeli authorities release Al-Thaher immediately without conditions. The statement also called upon Israel to release all other Palestinian journalists that are currently in Israeli detention. It said that currently more than 20 Palestinian journalists are in Israeli custody for no crime except that they were carrying out their professional journalistic duties.
Al-Thaher’s wife, speaking to the Middle East Eye, also revealed that his arrest by the Israeli security forces is puzzling since Al-Thaher is not involved in any political activities and even his journalistic work is not political in nature. She also said this was the first time that he has been arrested by Israel. The Israeli authorities have not informed her or the journalist’s lawyers as to why they have arrested him and what charges they are planning to bring against him, if any.