Is Hamas learning how to abuse journalists from Israel?

It’s very hard to judge this case except to say that Hamas should either charge the man or release him:

A British journalist who has been held in Gaza for two weeks without charge faces a further fortnight in detention after a court ordered an extension to his arrest.

Paul Martin, a 55-year-old film-maker who was arrested last month, is the first foreign journalist to be detained in Gaza since the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas seized full control of the strip almost three years ago.

Martin had entered Gaza to testify on behalf of a Palestinian accused of collaborating with Israel, but when he began to speak the prosecutor ordered that he be arrested and said he was wanted in connection with the case.

His lawyer, Sharhabil Zayim, said today that the court had extended his detention order for a second 15-day period, after which he would be charged or released.

Martin, who has worked for the BBC and the Times, is being held on suspicion of harming Gaza’s security, a Hamas spokesman said last month. However, he has not been charged and it is unclear what the allegations against him are.

He had reportedly been working on a documentary about Mohammad Abu Muailik, a former member of the Abu Rish Brigades, a Gaza militant group linked to Hamas’s political rival Fatah.

Abu Muailik was arrested several months ago and accused of collaboration with Israel, and Martin went to a Gazan military court to speak on his behalf.

Last month, the Foreign Press Association, which represents foreign journalists working in Israel and the Palestinian territories, said it was “deeply concerned” and called for Martin to be released.

“We expect Hamas, as we do all parties, to respect the rights of every journalist on assignment to work without fear of being arrested,” it said.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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