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Opposition Papers Closed By Arafat

MONDAY, AUG. 7, 1995

Yasser Arafat’s government on Sunday closed two weekly newspapers affiliated with Islamic militants opposed to peace talks with Israel.

Al-Watan, backed by the Hamas group, and al-Istiklal, backed by the smaller Islamic Jihad, violated a month-old press law, Palestinian attorney general Khaled al-Kidreh said. He would not say how.

The new law promises freedom of expression, but forbids publication of “secret information” on PLO troops and material that incites violence or sectarianism. Violators can be fined or jailed up to six months.

However, PLO sources said the papers were closed because of their harsh criticism of Arafat.

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