Abbas Issues Decree Ordering Freedom of Political Expression
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas issued a decree ordering the observance of freedom of expression in the run-up to the first Palestinian elections in 15 years. The degree issued on Saturday bans police pursuits and detention in the West Bank and Gaza due to political affiliation or political expression, according to reports.
Palestinian legislative elections are scheduled for May 22 and presidential elections on July 31.
The West Bank is run by the Abbas and his Fatah party; Gaza is run by Hamas. Each group accuses the other side of persecuting its supporters in the areas under their control.