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Mahmoud Abbas Orders Arrest of Two Journalists

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Challah Hu Akbar has been providing Fresh Baked Middle East Nonsense since 2010. Challah "retired" from blogging in October 2011, but has remained a twitter enthusiast. Like Challah Hu Akbar on Facebook.

Over the past couple of days I have been following the situation that has arisen surrounding InLightPress. In short, InLightPress has published a number of stories recently that were critical of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. As a result, InLightPress’ website faced a cyber attack, which was ordered by Abbas himself.

InLightPress is now reporting that Mahmoud Abbas recently ordered the arrest of Joseph Shayeb, a journalist for Al-Ghad.

According to InLightPress, Shayeb was arrested after publishing an article about the expulsion of Samir Mashharawi from Fatah, something I also covered. Shayeb reportedly wrote in his report that the expulsion was ordered by Abbas and was “in violation of Fatah’s regulatory framework.”

Fortunately, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad intervened on Tuesday evening and ordered the release of Shayeb.

In related news, PalTimes reports that Rami Samara, a journalist, was arrested by Palestinian Authority security forces on Tuesday evening after posting comments that were critical of the PLO on his Facebook page.

Update: The Associated Press has picked up on this story.

Rami Samara, an editor at the official Palestinian news agency Wafa, said plainclothes security agents took him from his office to Abbas’ headquarters on Tuesday and held him for four hours. “They showed me about 100 pages of comments I made on Facebook, mostly criticizing the Palestinian Authority and the PLO,” he said.

He said he was told he would be released if he signed a confession that he organized an anti-government demonstration on behalf of a small PLO faction critical of Abbas. Samara said he refused, but he was eventually released.

“Before this detention, I thought that we, the Palestinian people, enjoy wide freedom, but after what I saw, I think I’m being followed by the intelligence in every step of my life,” he said.

….In another case, journalist Yousef Shayeb, who writes for the Jordanian newspaper al-Ghad, said he was held for eight hours at a Palestinian intelligence office Tuesday. He said he was questioned about stories in which he alleged a Palestinian diplomatic mission abroad was riddled by corruption. Shayeb said interrogators demanded that he reveal his sources, which he said he refused to do.

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