West Bank journalist detained without charge

George Canawati, a reporter at Radio Bethlehem, held for five days by the Palestinian Authority.

George Canawati, a reporter at Radio Bethlehem, was detained for five days without any charge or explanation, by the West Bank Palestinian Authority (PA) for broadcasting a news item relating to frictions within the ruling Fatah party.

Canawati reportedly told the Guardian that he was held in an office at the city's general intelligence service headquarters over the Muslim holiday of Eid last month.

He said he was interrogated for three hours but beyond that the PA did not reveal the reason for his continued detention.

Based on a report made by Canawati, Radio Bethlehem broadcast a short item on 15 November at around 2pm stating that senior Fatah figure Mohamed Dahlan had played a message recorded on the mobile phone of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas to some members of Fatah's central committee.

In the message, Abbas saying he wanted a Palestinian state regardless of whether it was inside or outside the wall.

However, Canawati revealed that he did not hear the recording himself but based his report on a trusted source.

Condemning his detention, Canawati said independent Palestinian journalists come under pressure from both the PA and the Israeli authorities. "I don't want freedom just in slogans. I want to be free to criticise politicians," he added.