The International Press Institute, a global network of editors, media executives and journalists for press freedom, urges the government of Israel to immediately release photojournalist Mustafa Kharouf from detention and refrain from further attempts to deport him to Jordan or any other country.
Kharouf has been under detention for over six months, which is a violation of Israeli laws. The government should reconsider his request to allow him to reunite with his family and work in the country without any hindrance.
Attempts by Israel to deport Kharouf, who works as a photojournalist for Turkey’s Anadolu news agency, have failed as the Jordanian government refused to allow his entry into Jordan after the Israeli police took him to border on Sunday and Monday. According to news reports the police took Kharouf from Ramleh prison to the border crossing at Jericho but were turned away by Jordanian authorities on both days.
“We are concerned that Kharouf’s arrest on January 22 and the subsequent decision to deport him are based on his work as a journalist reporting on issues that are inconvenient to the Israeli government”, IPI Director of Advocacy Ravi R. Prasad said. “The government has not provided any reason for his arrest and there are no criminal cases pending against him.”
The Israeli government’s attempts to deport Kharouf to Jordan are based on a Jordanian passport that he holds. However, the passport only allows him to travel to neighbouring Arab countries but does not grant him citizenships or rights to residency in Jordan.
In March, IPI had written to the Minister of Interior of the Israeli government urging Kharouf’s release and calling for the deportation proceedings against him to be dropped.