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Urgent Concerns Regarding the Enforced Disappearance of Journalists from the Occupied Gaza Strip

RIGHTSDEFENDERS urgently bring attention to the enforced disappearance of journalists Haitham Abdelwahed (25) and Nidal al-Waheidi (31) from the occupied Gaza Strip. They were detained by Israeli forces on 7 October 2023 while reporting from the Beit Hanoun/Erez crossing and have since remained unaccounted for. Despite documented evidence of their detention, their whereabouts and the legal grounds for their arrest have not been disclosed. This lack of information has caused distress to their families, colleagues, and friends, particularly amidst the challenging circumstances in the besieged Gaza Strip.

The families’ concerns have been heightened by the confirmation that two workers from the Gaza Strip died while in the custody of the Israeli military. Additionally, reports of inhumane treatment and enforced disappearance of Palestinian detainees by Israeli forces have raised serious concerns about the well-being and safety of Nidal al-Waheidi and Haitham Abdelwahed.

In light of these distressing circumstances, RIGHRDEFENDERS urgently request the Israeli authorities to disclose the whereabouts of Nidal al-Waheidi and Haitham Abdelwahed, provide details regarding the legal grounds for their detention, ensure their humane treatment, including access to medical services and protection from torture and other ill-treatment, and grant them access to legal representation appointed by their families. Unless charged promptly with a recognizable criminal offense and granted a fair trial in accordance with international standards, they must be released without delay.

The international community must continue to advocate for the rights and well-being of Nidal al-Waheidi, Haitham Abdelwahed, and all individuals subjected to enforced disappearance and arbitrary detention, and call for their immediate release. These actions are essential to uphold the principles of justice, human rights, and the rule of law, and to ensure the protection of individuals’ fundamental rights and freedoms.

The urgency of this situation cannot be overstated, and it is crucial that concerted efforts are made to address these grave concerns and secure the release of Nidal al-Waheidi and Haitham Abdelwahed.

Reference:

https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/mde15/7551/2023/en/

https://english.wafa.ps/Pages/Details/137990