The Palestinian Authority (PA) is facing sharp criticism over its attempt to “encroach” on the judicial authority and turn it into a tool in the hands of President Mahmoud Abbas.
Palestinian lawyers, judges and legal experts say that a new bill proposed by the PA government in the West Bank would have a negative impact on the independence and integrity of the judiciary system.
The PA leadership’s bid to take control over the judicial authority comes on the heels of an ongoing crackdown on the Palestinian media and journalists. In recent weeks, PA security forces have blocked more than 20 news websites and arrested scores of journalists. In addition, Abbas has approved a Cyber Crimes Law that gives his security forces expanded powers to silence his critics on social media.
Protests by Palestinian journalists and some human rights organizations have thus far failed to persuade Abbas to abandon the Cyber Crimes Law and punitive measures against reporters. As of now, Abbas’s campaign to muzzle his critics appears to have worked.
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