Lawyers for Justice are closely monitoring the escalating campaign of political arrests and the increasing repression carried out by the security agencies since the beginning of the current month. The group has observed a rise in cases of arrests based on the exercise of freedom of opinion and expression.

During this month, the group documented the arrests of three citizens by the Preventive Security Service due to their exercise of freedom of opinion and expression. Among them were the journalist Aqeel Awawdah, citizen Mohammed Hareebat, and Sheikh Mustafa Abu Ara, who were later released on bail.

The Public Prosecution has charged the mentioned individuals with various accusations, including defamation against the authority, incitement to racial hatred, and slander against the President, relying on the Penal Code and the Cybercrime Law.

Lawyers for Justice view these arrests as arbitrary and not grounded in the law, as they violate the Palestinian Basic Law and international human rights conventions. The group calls for an immediate cessation of these arrests and urges authorities to refrain from pursuing citizens on such grounds.

Additionally, the group demands the cancellation of the Cybercrime Law (Law No. 4 of 2018), which was enacted by the Executive Authority with the aim of silencing voices and limiting legitimate criticism on social media. It is worth noting that all cases brought under this law, related to freedom of opinion and expression, have resulted in judicial acquittals.

The group believes that resorting to the deprivation of freedom and the detention of citizens based on their exercise of freedom of opinion and expression on social media falls under abuse of power and represents a deviation from the Palestinian Basic Law.

This statement was issued by Lawyers for Justice on 27th July 2023.