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SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom - Samir Kassir Foundation

Palestinian Journalist Rula Hassanein Charged with Incitement for Social Media Posts

Wednesday , 08 May 2024

On March 19, 2024 Israeli military forces arrested Palestinian journalist Rula Hassanein, who is also an editor for the Ramallah-based Wattan Media Network, without explanation, at her home in the Al-Ma’asra neighborhood in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, handcuffed and blindfolded her, confiscated her laptop and cell phone, and took her to Damon Prison, near the northern Israeli city of Haifa, according to news reports, the Palestinian press freedom group MADA, and the Beirut-based press freedom group SKeyes.   

Hassanein was brought before Judea military court, which is located in Ofer Prison, northwest of Jerusalem, on March 25 and charged with incitement on social media and supporting a hostile organization banned under Israeli law, according to MADA and court documents, which CPJ reviewed.

The health of Hassanein’s prematurely born daughter Elia, who suffers from a weak immune system and ulcers on her palms, feet, and mouth, has declined since her mother’s arrest as she was exclusively breastfed, according to those sources and medical reports, reviewed by CPJ. Hassanein gave birth last year to twins, Elia and Youssef, two months early due to health complications, and lost Youssef three hours after birth, those sources said.


On April 3, Judea military court postponed the hearing for the third time, refused to grant bail to Hassanein, and rejected her lawyer’s request that she be released to look after her baby, according to news reports and MADA.

The court documents accused Hassanein of incitement over her posts, including retweets, on X, formerly Twitter, and Facebook between August 2022 and December 2023, in which she commented on the Israel-Gaza war, that included her frustration over the suffering of Palestinians. Hassanein also commented on events in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, including the shooting of two Israelis in the northern town of Hawara in August 2023 and the killing of an Israeli soldier at a checkpoint in East Jerusalem in October 2022.

On October 10, 2023, Hassanein retweeted a post on X showing a photograph of her in a sniper’s crosshairs with Hebrew text describing her as a Hamas Nazi journalist living in Ramallah, which she said Israeli setters circulated on social media groups calling for her arrest as part of an incitement campaign against her.

Hassanein’s family are campaigning for her release, saying that her health has deteriorated as a result of poor prison conditions, according to the Palestinian outlet Mada News and MADA

Hassanein has contributed to several media outlets, including the Qatari broadcaster Al-Jazeera, the feminist online outlet Banfsj, the Palestinian women’s station Radio Nisaa, and the think tank Al-Quds Center for Political Studies. Muamar Orabi, general director of Wattan Media Network, told CPJ that Hassanein had been working as an editor for the outlet in the months prior to her arrest.

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