TEL AVIV – Hamas police on Tuesday arrested a government official who openly criticized the Islamist movement’s decision to buy new vehicles for its leaders.
As Breitbart Jerusalem reported last week, the decision to buy 36 new cars for Hamas’ top officials during times of great economic distress caused uproar in the Gaza Strip. A picture of one appears below, right:
Before his arrest, Rami Rayan, a civil service employee of Hamas’s Interior Ministry, wrote on his Facebook page: “While public servants cannot afford bread to feed their children, and I mean every word, the treasury approves a decision to buy new cars and those who pushed it forward are the people who see themselves as the heirs of Omar [ibn al Khattab, one of Prophet Mohammed’s associates, who was known for his modesty and fairness]??! How can the prestige of a public official mean more to you than the empty stomach of a child??!! How do you expect us to believe your empty rhetoric about compassion and solidarity when you behave in this satanic way??!”
Eyad Elbazm, a Hamas government spokesperson, declined to answer Breitbart Jerusalem‘s questions about the grounds for Rayan’s arrest and his fate.
Rayan’s family and friends condemned his detention, saying that it is another expression of the Hamas government’s assault on civil liberties.
Ahmad Abu Rteimeh, an opinion leader, wrote to his numerous followers on Facebook:
Rayan was arrested by police in the wake of his criticism of the decision to buy new cars. … Sadly, it is an indication that we’re on the fast lane to tyranny. … Civil liberties and the freedom of expression cannot be grounds for arrest by a government that says it only consecrates the just Palestinian cause. … We will fight with our pens and keyboards to halt our society’s deterioration toward the abyss.
“Rami was arrested for writing a post on Facebook,” Alaa Rayan, a relative of the detainee, wrote. “Since when is saying the truth a crime?”
The posts were liked and shared by many others, who were apparently undeterred by the risk.
Rayan’s family have been posting regular updates on his status, while a relative said that the family had been informed by police that efforts are being made to release him.