SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom - Samir Kassir Foundation

Israeli forces arrest Palestinian filmmaker Abdulrahman Thaher at his home in Nablus

Thursday , 29 October 2020

On Tuesday, October 27, 2020 Israeli security forces raided the home of Palestinian journalist Abdulrahman Thaher, a Palestinian filmmaker and TV producer and presenter, in the northern West Bank city of Nablus, arrested him, and took him to an unknown destination, according to newsreports and the regional press freedom group SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom.  

Thaher’s wife, Rasha al-Sayeh, was quoted by SKeyes as saying that Thaher woke her up at dawn when Israeli troops stormed into the building where they live.

“A few minutes later they were knocking on our apartment’s door. My husband opened and the soldiers asked if he was the famous journalist. He replied that he wasn’t famous. They searched the house, handcuffed and blindfolded him and took him to an unknown destination,” al-Sayeh told SKeyes.

Thaher produces and presents TV comedy and satirical shows for the Amman-based broadcaster Roya TV and the United Kingdom-based Al-Araby TV, including the show “TrickCaravan Plus,” in which Thaher travels across the Palestinian territories asking people tricky questions about Palestinian history, geography, or culture; and the series “Fenjan al-Balad,” which uses black humor to address political, social, and economic issues facing Palestinians, according to a CPJ review of the shows’ content.

According to news reports and his personal Facebook account, Thaher also works as a producer for the Nablus-based An-Najah University’s Media Center.

On his personal Facebook account, which has over 21,000 followers, Thaher has recently posted calls for the release of the Nablus-based journalist Tareq Abu Zeid, who was arrested by Israeli forces on October 1, and for the renewal of the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate.

Thaher was arrested by Palestinian Preventive Security Forces in Nablus on August 19 over a Facebook post criticizing the normalization of ties with Israel resulting from the UAE-Israel peace deal and charged with defaming the Palestinian authorities, according to news reports and SKeyes. His lawyer, Mohanad Karajeh, told SKeyes that Thaher was questioned about his media work, which is critical of the Palestinian authorities.

Thaher was released on bail of 5,000 Jordanian dinars ($7,000) on September 21, according to a Facebook post by his wife.

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