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PA security forces arrest state TV journalist, Rami Samara, then release him

12:00 Jan 31 2012 Ramallah

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BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Palestinian Authority security services arrested a journalist for the government's official news agency in Ramallah on Tuesday after he criticized PLO officials, a media rights group said.

Rami Samara, a journalist for the PA's Wafa news agency, was released after a few hours, the Palestinian media rights group MADA said.

His arrest followed a critical commentary he posted on Facebook about the most recent meeting of the PLO executive committee and the recent talks held in Amman with Israeli negotiators.

"They interrogated me for about three hours and then they asked me to sign a statement for my release but I refused because they had written things that I had not said," Samara said in the MADA release.

"Then they took me to the intelligence headquarters in Ramallah where I was interrogated for a further half an hour, before I was released after the intervention of my colleagues who organized a solidarity sit in".

In the statement, MADA said it strongly condemned the arrest as well as "the harassment of journalists who openly express their views".

It demanded that the security services respect freedom of opinion and expression.
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