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Hamas forces detain and allegedly assault director of Palestinian Journalists' Syndicate
January 17, 2019
Source: Committee to Protect Journalists

Louay Al-Ghoul, the executive director of the Gaza branch of the Fatah-affiliated Palestinian Journalists' Syndicate, was arrested in Gaza City on January 5, 2019. He was detained twice, and was released on January 7. He told CPJ that he was beaten by security forces during his detention.

On January 5, the Hamas Internal Security Force raided al-Ghoul's house in Gaza and, failing to find him, served al-Ghoul's wife with a summons for her husband to appear at their headquarters on January 6, without giving a reason, according to news reports, the regional press freedom group SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom, and the Palestinian Journalists' Syndicate (PJS).

Al-Ghoul told CPJ that he presented himself to security forces on January 5 and was then interrogated about the nature of his work and assaulted.

After being taken to an interrogation room, officers "looked at the statement by the PJS [condemning al-Ghoul's detention] and four officers beat me with sticks and other things while my head was covered with a bag," he told CPJ. "They stopped and interrogated me again and requested that a member of my family bring an iPad so that I could open my Facebook account. Then they put the bag back on my head and resumed the beating." Al-Ghoul told CPJ that a family member did not bring an iPad to the authorities.

Al-Ghoul was released from custody after signing a pledge to return the next day, January 6, according to SKeyes.

When he returned, al-Ghoul told SKeyes that an investigator "accused me of lying when I told him I had been beaten and said I had done it myself. He sent me back to the cell where I was held until I was released in the morning of January 7."

According to a statement by the syndicate, al-Ghoul was forced to sign a document promising that he would not publish any news about the Fatah-backed Palestine TV broadcaster or the Fatah party.

Salama Maroof, head of Hamas' media office in Gaza, did not reply to CPJ's emailed request for comment.