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Israel extends detention of Palestinian journalist by 3 months: NGO

Nazzal was arrested on April 23 at the border between the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Jordan, from where he had been due to fly to a European Federation of Journalists gathering in Bosnia. Photograph: (Getty)

AFP Ramallah, Palestinian Territories Aug 20, 2016, 01.58 PM (IST)
Israeli authorities have extended by three months the detention without trial of a Palestinian journalist who had been due for release on Monday, a Palestinian NGO said on Saturday.

The Ramallah-based Palestinian Prisoners Club said it had been informed by Omar Nazzal's lawyers that the senior journalists' union official would not now be released at the end of his current term, on August 22.

"Israel is intensifying its policy of administrative detention and increasing the extensions of administrative detention," prisoners club spokeswoman Amani Sarahneh told AFP. "In particular, it made this choice in the case of Omar."

His wife Marlene Rabadi posted on Facebook: "We were informed today that Omar's administrative detention has been extended by three months." Israeli officials could not immediately be reached for comment on Saturday, the Jewish sabbath.

Nazzal was arrested on April 23 at the border between the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Jordan, from where he had been due to fly to a European Federation of Journalists gathering in Bosnia. A military court ordered at the time that he be placed for four months in administrative detention, an Israeli measure allowing suspects to be interned for indefinite periods without charge.

Israel accuses him of "participation in a terrorist organisation". Shin Bet security service said in April that Nazzal, 54, served in a top position at Falestine al-Youm television in Ramallah, which Israel forcibly closed on accusations of incitement to violence.

Nazzal had left the broadcaster several months before his arrest, which Palestinians say is an Israeli attack on the freedom of the Palestinian press.

He has been on hunger strikes since August 4 in protest against his detention, and international organisations have called for his release. Israel says Nazzal was detained for "his involvement in terror group activities", and not "because of his activity as a journalist".

The Palestinian journalists' union says that another 19 Palestinian journalists and students of journalism are in Israeli prisons, one of them for more than 20 years.

(AFP)
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