Palestinian Blogger Jailed For Liking Facebook Post
Salfit man, Anas Ismail was charged with libel and slander and sentenced to six months imprisonment after liking three Facebook posts criticising Palestinian authorities.
Ismail said that he was detained for 17 days before his absentia sentencing, later writing on his Facebook page:
“For a ‘tag’, you get one year. For a ‘like’, you get six months, for a ‘share’ you get a suspended sentence. A comment invites the biggest disaster”.
The Jerusalem Post wrote that “Ismail told the West Bank-based Wattan TV station that he had been summoned for interrogation 10 times in the past six months because of the “Like” on Facebook.”
Due to the absentia nature of his sentencing, Ismail’s lawyer, Wajdi Amer said they will appeal the sentence in the hopes of a chance to defend his client.
Ismail’s arrest came on the same day that the verdict of a Palestinian journalist, Mamdooh Hamamreh who was sentenced to one year in prison for allegedly sharing a defamatory facebook image two years ago.
The picture “compared PA President Mahmoud Abbas to a villain and the spy of French colonial authorities in a Syrian drama” according to the Jerusalem Post.
Hamamreh was detained for 53 days upon his arrest, denied access to his lawyer for the first 20 days as well as missing the birth of his son.
“I now censor myself regarding anything I say,” said Hamamreh.
“It’s the one thing they (the authorities) succeeded in doing, which is intimidation.”
Ismail and Hamamreh are just a snippet of the restrictive arrests in Palestine, with a recorded 238 violations of media freedoms in 2012 according to the Palestine Centre for Development and Media Freedoms, MADA.
This is an 11.5% increase in violations since 2011, which include killings, prevention from travel and coverage, bombings, raiding, closing and blocking of media sites, confiscation of equipment, physical abuse, detention and arrest.