Israel has arrested a Palestinian journalist working for NBC News over four Facebook posts that were allegedly “glorifying” Hamas.
It is unclear what the Facebook posts actually said, but the Jerusalem Post said that they were “inciting and glorying the horrible acts committed against civilians.”
NBC News announced on Monday that they had cut ties with the journalist.
“Before we recently retained Marwat Azza for services as a freelance producer, we were not aware of her personal social media activity that provided the basis for the Israeli investigation,” an NBC spokesperson told The New York Post.
“We understand the material under investigation is not related to any services she provided to NBC News.”
The journalist has reportedly been fully cooperative with police and turned herself in without her cellphone, but with phone numbers written on her leg.
The Israeli police had asked the prosecutor’s office for permission to interrogate al-Azzeh last month, according to the Jerusalem Post report. They were granted permission last week.
The journalist reportedly confessed to making the posts.
“The woman in question is an ordinary woman, who works as a journalist and whose work is important to us all,” al-Azzeh’s attorney said, according to The Jerusalem Post report.
“She was asked during her investigation about her employment. I believe she admitted to all the deeds described to her, and cooperated fully with the investigation. She did not attempt to conceal the offenses or claim that her accounts had been hacked. Even when she didn’t have a mobile phone, which is the main tool involved, she still said, ‘Yes, those are my posts.’”
al-Azzeh appeared in court on Friday and a judge extended her detention an additional four days.
The New York Post reports:
Back in April, al-Azzeh shared a 24-minute post to YouTube titled “See the full story: An x-ray technician harasses journalist Mervat Al-Azza and grabs her breasts!!”
In the video, al-Azzeh describes, in Arabic, how she was assaulted at a West Bank hospital, but felt pressured by authorities to drop her complaint against her attacker and ordered her to undergo a mental health evaluation, according to a report of the incident in Middle East Eye.
“I cannot find a reason for this, I just see them making things harder for me,” al-Azzeh told the Middle East Eye at the time.
Her most recent report for NBC News was about how newborns at the Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City were dying because it was running out of resources.
It is unclear how much time she is facing in prison.