Despite her preoccupation with a role as a doctor and caring for her five children, Palestinian Maymouna al-Rimawi is following around the clock any news she may receive about her husband, the imprisoned journalist in the Israeli occupation prisons, Alaa al-Rimawi, who has been on an open hunger strike since his arrest on April 21.
In the last week, Al-Rimawi’s family did not receive any information about his health condition, and his wife told Al-Jazeera Net that he was brought to the Israeli court on Wednesday (April 28 last) in a state of severe fatigue, and he informed his lawyer that he suffers from headaches and constant dizziness and that he is vomiting blood.
Al-Rimawi, who works as a director of “G Media” and a correspondent for Al-Jazeera Mubasher, was arrested after a large force of the occupation army stormed his house in the city of Ramallah in the central West Bank.
Al-Rimawi, 43, is the father of five children and has spent about 11 years in multiple detention in the occupation prisons, the last of which was in 2018 for a period of a month and a half when the occupation authorities decided to close the Jerusalem satellite channel, which served as the director of its office in the West Bank, arrest its correspondents and confiscate its equipment. With other media channels and companies.
This time al-Rimawi represents a blatant case in which Israel has arrested Palestinian journalists for their journalistic work. His family called on the International Federation of Press and organizations defending the rights of journalists in the world, to intervene to release him before his strike prolonged and his health worsened in a way that actually affects his life.
Al-Rimawi has been detained since his arrest in the Israeli Ofer prison, west of Ramallah, and the prison administration decided to transfer him to solitary confinement “as punishment for his continuous hunger strike and an increase in harassment,” as his lawyer Khaled Zabarqa told Al-Jazeera Net.
The occupation authorities transferred Rimawi to administrative detention (without charge) for a period of 3 months, which can be renewed. His lawyer said that after his arrest, these authorities subjected him to direct investigation about his journalistic work, press coverage and its impact.
During a session to confirm his administrative ruling last Wednesday, his lawyer said that the Israeli Military Prosecutor (representing the Israeli intelligence service) had spoken clearly about Rimawi’s role in the recent press coverage. Advertising
Al-Rimawi used to present a daily program entitled “Palestine Elects”, in which he hosted representatives of the Palestinian lists competing in the legislative elections from all Palestinian factions, including the lists of the Palestinian National Liberation Movement (Fatah), the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) and the Palestinian left.
Al-Rimawi is awaiting another court session next Thursday to confirm his arrest, in conjunction with a campaign of advocacy and support stances called for by human rights organizations and press movements to demand the release of him and 15 press prisoners in the Israeli occupation prisons, including the journalist Bushra Al-Tawil.
Release and Protection
On the occasion of May 3, International Press Day, the head of the Palestinian Prisoners Affairs Authority, Qadri Abu Bakr, called on the international community to protect Palestinian journalists from the attacks of the occupation. He said in a press statement that the Prisoners’ Authority has documented hundreds of violations against Palestinian journalists in recent years, including arbitrary detention and arrest, unfair sentences, assault, storming and closure of media institutions, confiscation of their equipment and devices, in addition to the prosecution, summoning and restricting the movement of many journalists, and preventing others from traveling.
Social media activists were also targeted against the background of their posts, “with the aim of suppressing them, spreading fear in their souls, silencing their mouths, twisting their free pens, neutralizing them, and blocking the ugly image captured by their camera lenses from the reality of the occupation.”
Abu Bakr called on the International Conference of World Press Freedom Day 2021, hosted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the government of Namibia, and held from April 29 to May 3 in Windhoek, to come up with clear recommendations that protect journalists. And Palestinian media professionals, and taking serious action to release 16 Palestinian journalists who are still being detained in the occupation prisons.
World Press Freedom Day dates back to a conference held by UNESCO in Windhoek (the capital of the Republic of Namibia) in 1991, and the third of May “is a reminder to governments of the need to respect their commitment to freedom of the press. It is also a day for meditation among media professionals on issues of press freedom and professional ethics.” “.
Violations and impunity
On this occasion, a report by the Gaza-based Committee to Support Palestinian Journalists has documented 165 violations of the right of journalists since the beginning of 2021. In it, 38 Palestinian journalists were injured by direct Israeli bullets or gas suffocation, or during attacks on them by Israeli soldiers, or Attacking them from groups of settlers and launching ferocious dogs at them.
The report monitored more than 42 cases of arrest, summons, detention and deportation, and the imposition of house arrest on journalists working in the field or against media activists accused of “inciting Israel” through social media.
On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, the Palestinian photojournalist Moaz Amarneh recalls “the crime of the occupation’s shooting and the loss of his left eye about a year and a half ago.”
Amarneh told Al-Jazeera Net that, despite documenting his injury during his coverage of confrontations with the occupation in the southern West Bank and in front of journalists, the occupation soldiers refused to acknowledge this, and the occupation authorities refused to register a complaint against this background when he was transferred for treatment at Hadassah Hospital in occupied Jerusalem, “in an attempt to impunity. As he described it.
Administrative detention facing journalists
A report by the Palestinian Prisoners Club shed light on 4 of the journalists who have been administratively detained. He said that Israel pursues a set of policies to restrict freedom of opinion and expression and arrest journalists and activists in an ongoing attempt to undermine their societal, cultural and political role, and prevent them from disclosing the ongoing crimes against the Palestinians.
The administrative detention policy constitutes the most prominent of these systematic policies, according to which 4 Palestinian journalists are detained, the last of whom is Alaa al-Rimawi, and before him the journalist Nidal Abu Aker, Osama Shaheen and Bushra al-Tawil.
Al-Tawil journalist from the city of Al-Bireh has faced repeated administrative arrests since 2011, most recently in November 2020, due to her journalistic work on the issue of Palestinian prisoners in particular.