On Thursday evening, January 12, 2017 an Associated Press reporter covering a demonstration in the northern Gaza Strip was detained by plainclothes Hamas security men and forced at gunpoint to turn over his mobile phones to them. The men stuck a pistol in his chest and verbally threatened the reporter until he agreed to give them the phones.
In addition an AFP photographer was badly beaten to the head by uniformed policemen required medical care after he had refused to give up his camera. The memory card of his camera was confiscated and he was placed under arrest. He was subsequently released and the memory card was returned.
The Foreign Press Association condemns this violent behavior in the strongest terms, and finds it especially shocking in light of verbal promises we have received from Hamas officials to respect the freedom of the press.
We hope that Hamas will properly investigate this incident and provide an explanation and apology for this unacceptable behavior by their forces.
The Board of The Foreign Press Association January 12th, 2017