Wednesday, December 02, 2020

Israel releases Palestinian journalist Lama Khater

By Patty Diphusa - July 30, 2019
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [prisoner release]

Palestinian writer and journalist Lama Khater was released after having served a sentence of 13 months in Israeli prison. 

Turkish news agency Anadolu Agency reported Khater’s husband Hazem Al-Fakhouri said she was released in the north of the West Bank at the Jalameh checkpoint and that she is good health.

Khater was arrested on 24 July 2018 in her home town of Hebron after Israeli forces investigated the journalist for her “writing and membership in a banned organisation”, suggesting that she was inciting violence through her articles published across Palestinian and Arab news media. 

As Middle East Monitor reported, days previous to her detention, Khater had published tweets criticising Israeli authorities preventing Muslims from entering and praying at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. The same news agency also reported that in her years of working as journalist and writer, she had been threatened both by the Israeli and Palestinian Authority’s intelligence services.

After her arrest, Khater was taken to Ashkelon prison and the NGO Palestinian Prisoners Club stated that she was forced to “a harsh and continuous investigation, which lasted for more than 20 hours a day, confined to a chair all the time”. Her trial was constantly postponed for months and she was transferred to different prisons without any officials charges revealed. 

In conversation with the Palestinian Information Center after her release, Khater said that “Israel isolates female Palestinian prisoners and cuts them off from the outside world”. 

Israel has a long record violating rights of journalists both Palestinian and foreign reporting on life under occupation.

A report of the Journalist Support Committee (JSC) revealed that during the first quarter of this year, Israeli forces committed over 150 violations against Palestinian journalists. 

According to the JSC document, cases of violence against press workers are abundant.

The report stated, to name some examples, that during the coverage of the Great March of Return in Gaza ten journalists were shot with live ammunition and 23 were directly targeted with tear gas canisters. 

During the first four months of 2019, they documented 16 detentions of journalists, 17 bans on media coverage and harassment and violations once inside Israeli prisons.



Lead image: Shehab News Agency/Middle East Monitor

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