A Palestinian atheist who was jailed and beaten last year for expressing anti-Muslim views on Facebook and in blogs says Palestinian security forces are harassing him again, despite government pledges to respect human rights.

The blogger’s renewed ordeal is part of a persistent climate of intolerance of dissent in the territories controlled by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, say human rights activists. They say they’ve seen improvements, including a marked decrease in the mistreatment of detainees, but that Abbas’ security forces, who are partially funded by the West, must halt harassment and arbitrary detention.

Government spokesman Ghassan Khatib acknowledged occasional lapses, but said that in the past two years, “there’s been great progress and success in reducing abuses.”

Such promises mean little to atheist blogger Walid Husayin, who has lived in fear of the security forces since being released from a nine-month prison stint last summer.

“I’m sick and tired. My life has come to a halt,” the 28-year-old Husayin said in a phone interview from his home in the northern West Bank town of Qalqiliya.

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