The Qalqilya Magistrate’s Court decided this morning to acquit the former detainee, Muhammad Al-Baz, of the charge of defamation against the authority, in violation of Article 45 of Decree-Law No. 10 of 2018 in terms of Article 191 of Penalties No 16 to the year 60.

The Preventive Security Service arrested Muhammad Al-Baz from Qalqilya governorate because of posts he wrote on his personal social media page, in which he criticizes the performance of the Palestinian Authority PLO, and in these publications he also criticizes the policy of political detention that targets those he described as respected people. He described the settlement agreements signed by the PLO as illegitimate, in addition he wrote that the authority is corrupted and accused the authority of killing Nizar Banat.

After six months of prosecution, arrest and trial, the Magistrate’s Court in Qalqilya decided to declare his innocence. Accordingly, Lawyers for Justice group calls for the necessity of respecting rights, freedoms, and preserving the right to express opinion, no matter how climaxed it may be, as long as it is focused on legitimate criticism.
The group also confirms that hundreds of files that were referred by city prosecutors on the same background receive acquittal verdicts at the conclusion of the trial, which requires waiting and reassessing the prosecution’s performance in the files referred to the courts or requests to extend arbitrary detentions that are arbitrarily submitted to the courts at the investigation stage. Punishing people, especially since the Public Prosecution Office exists to protect the public right, preserve rights, and freedoms, not to defend oppression and confiscation of constitutional rights enshrined by the Palestinian Basic Law.

The group also stresses that the judiciary is required today to reconsider requests to extend the detention, so that the judiciary is not a haven to legitimize repression in the arrest stage, with the need also to repeal this decision by a law on cybercrime as it directly contradicts the Palestinian Basic Law and related human rights