Palestinian Centre for Human Rights
Date: 28 September 2004
Time: 10:00 GMT
PCHR Condemns Kidnapping a Journalist in Gaza City and Calls for His Immediate Release
PCHR strongly condemns the kidnapping of a CNN employee in Gaza City on Monday evening, 27 September 2004, by an unknown armed group.
According to information available to PCHR, at approximately 18:30 on Monday, a number of gunmen who were traveling in a civilian car intercepted another car, in which a number of CNN’s staff members were traveling, near al-Kinz mosque in al-Remal neighborhood in Gaza City. One gunman got out of the car and asked about Riad ‘Ali, a Palestinian living in Israel who works as a producer and translator at CNN. When ‘Ali identified himself, the gunman ordered him to get into the car, in which the gunman and his colleagues were traveling. The car then traveled to an unknown destination.
The identity and motives the kidnappers, who did not cover their faces, have not been discovered yet. No party has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping. Hamas issued a statement in which it denied any connection with the kidnapping and called for the journalist’s release. PCHR believes that CNN was not the target of this attack, as the kidnappers asked for Riad ‘Ali by his name, while the correspondent of CNN, Ben Wedeman was with him.
The Palestinian police started to search for the kidnapped journalist, but no information about him has been available.
PCHR strongly condemns the kidnapping of the journalists and calls upon the kidnappers to immediately and unconditionally release him. PCHR calls also upon the Palestinian National Authority, Palestinian factions and civil society organizations to make intensive efforts to ensure the journalist’s release.
PCHR is gravely concerned for increasing attacks against journalists and media institutions in the Palestinian National Authority controlled areas, whose perpetrators have not been identified. PCHR believes that such attacks violate press freedom and the right to freedom of expression, undermine the rule of law and indicate a state of instability in the Palestinian National Authority controlled areas, especially in the Gaza Strip, which threatens the security and safety of Palestinian citizens.
For more information please call PCHR office in Gaza, Gaza Strip, on +972 8 2824776 – 2825893