The Lawyers for Justice group followed up the sentencing session on the case of Palestinian journalist and filmmaker Abdel Rahman Zaher from Nablus, where they prosecuted him on three charges that affect the essence of his professional journalistic work and restricts freedom of opinion and expression. These charges include: “Dissemination of information that incites racial strife through the electronic network, and transmitting news by any of the different means of communication with the intent of causing panic and slander against the authority.”
While the group was able to obtain an acquittal on two charges, which are: Publishing information inciting racial strife through the electronic network, and the transmission news by any means of communication with the intent of causing panic, it condemns what the court decided to convict journalist Abdul Rahman Zahir for defaming the authority, and sentenced him to 3 months in prison and a fine.
The group also notes that the conviction decision reinforces the restriction of freedom of work for journalist Abdel Rahman Zahir, whose case was opened with his detention for 35 days at the Preventive Security Service in August 2020, during which he suffered from severe health conditions. A few days after his release, the occupation arrested him as part of his fight against the free Palestinian media and persecution of Palestinian journalists. Moreover, the Israeli occupation interrogated him on the same charges he faced during his political detention at the Preventive Security Service.
Lawyers for Justice group condemns the court’s conviction decision, which restricts press freedoms and media work and freedom of opinion and expression guaranteed in the Palestinian Basic Law and international agreements signed by the State of Palestine.
The group also requests local and international media and press organizations, and human rights and civil institutions to pay attention to the seriousness of what the Palestinian journalist faces, from both the prosecution of the security services and the Israeli occupation, which threatens the Palestinian journalistic reality and public freedoms.