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Prominent Palestinian writer Lama Khater remanded in custody for an additional 12 days

PALESTINIAN writer and prominent critic of the Israeli government Lama Khater was remanded in custody for an additional 12 days today, according to the Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS).

An Israeli military court in Asqalan ruled that Ms Khater should be held in prison to allow for her continued questioning by security services.

PPS lawyer Firas Sabah explained that she had been undergoing “intensive and severe interrogation” for the last 17 days — for more than 20 hours a day.

He explained that Ms Khater has been interrogated while being tied to a chair and has been deliberately deprived of sleep.

She was arrested on July 24 in the occupied West Bank along with 13 other Palestinians wanted for hostile activities against Israeli soldiers and settlers.

An Israeli army spokesman claimed she had been arrested “on suspicion of taking part in Hamas activities.”

Ms Khater is a freelance journalist who has written for many newspapers and websites such as Felestin, a broadsheet newspaper produced in Gaza and seen as politically close to Hamas.

Her writings expose human rights abuses committed by the Israeli occupying forces. She is also an outspoken critic of the Palestinian Authority.

She recently condemned the closure of Egyptian border crossings into Gaza accusing President Abdel Fatah el-Sissi of collaborating with Tel Aviv to “suffocate Gaza into submission.”

Following Ms Khater’s arrest last month, Palestinian MP Hoda Naieem called on women’s groups to demand her release, accusing Israel of crushing freedom of the press.

“Lama Khater was arrested because she uncovers the crimes of the occupation against our people, and this confirms that this occupation does not take laws, customs or international standards into consideration,” Ms Naieem said. 

Hamas accused the Palestinian Authority of colluding with Israeli security forces to facilitate the arrest of Ms Khater.

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