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“MADA” demands the Associated Press withdraw its dismissal of journalist Iyad Hamad
28 May 2020

Ramallah - Nisaa FM - The Associated Press International Agency (AP) dismissed its photographer in the occupied Palestinian territories, Iyad Nimer Abdulqadir Hamad (63 years old), on the pretext that the agency had received a complaint against him from the Palestinian police, claiming that he had “incited against the Palestinian security services and attempted to create chaos”.

Hamad was also informed from the Associated Press, which appears to have been linked to his participation in a protest in the city of Bethlehem against the arrest of Palestinian police journalist Anas Hawari, while PA Police spokesman, Luay Zreikat, flatly denied these allegations during his conversation with “MADA” Center.

Iyad Hamad, a resident of the city of Bethlehem, told MADA researcher that at approximately 3:30 p.m. yesterday (27/05/2020), he received a phone call from the management of the Associated Press, in which he was informed that a decision had been issued to terminate his work and to dismiss him permanently from the agency, based on a complaint lodged by the Palestinian police against him.

On the same day (Wednesday 27/05/2020) journalist Hamad received an email from the Associated Press, which included his accusation (according to the police complaint that the agency claims to receive) of several violations; his attempt to create chaos and incitement, and the threat to ignite rubber tires infront of the court in the city of Bethlehem, in protest against the trial of journalist Anas Hawari, who was arrested by the Palestinian police after he was attacked at the entrance to the town of Anabta in the Tulkarm city governorate. Likewise, Hamad was accused of "calling for a protest in front of the headquarters of the security services in the city of Bethlehem, and inciting the security services and their work" (in connection with the protest against the arrest of Anas Hawari).

Iyad Hamad and a group of journalists held a sit-in on Tuesday 19/05/2020, in front of the headquarters of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the city of Bethlehem; after he received information from the agency he works with stating that "the Palestinian police lodged a complaint against him". Shortly before, there was a heated debate on a group of journalists on WhatsApp with Palestinian police spokesman, Luay Zreikat, against the arrest of Palestinian journalist Anas Al-Hawari.

The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms “MADA” condemns the Associated Press's dismissal of journalist Iyad Hamad, who has worked with it for nearly 20 years and covered various events in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and participated in covering the events of Libya, Tunisia and Egypt, and was attacked many times during his career by the Israeli occupation forces. MADA also calls on the agency to reverse its decision, which affects his right to express his opinion, his right as a journalist and a citizen to protest and solidarity with a colleague who has been arrested. Moreover, Hamad asks the Associated Press to reveal the complaint letter she received from the police, as it claims.