Palestinian national authority arrests human rights activist

A journalist was arrested, charged with criticizing President Mahmoud Abbas. A volt face against dissent. Prison, forced labor and fines.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Human rights activist and coordinator for the NGO Youth Against Settlements, Issa Amro, was arrested yesterday for criticizing the Palestinian National Authority on Facebook.

In the post on the social network, Amro denounced the detention of Ayman Qawasmi, director of Hebron Manbar al-Hurriya radio station. Qawasmi had criticized the president of the Palestinian Authority (PA), demanding his resignation because he was incapable of protecting the Palestinians.

Amro is known for his non-violent activism, for which he was also tried by an Israeli military court. After a hearing on July 9, the next is scheduled for October and November.

The two are joining the ranks of Palestinians detained for criticizing the authorities since Abbas approved the Cybercrime Law in June. The law is defined as "the worst law in the history of the PA" by human rights groups. It imposes prisons, forced labor and fines for the creation, publication and sharing of information considered dangerous by the Palestinian Authority.

Since July, the PA has closed 29 West Bank-based websites.