Press Watchdog Slams Israel’s Arrest of Anadolu Agency Photographer

AA journalist Mustafa al-Kharouf. (Photo: via Social Media)

An international press watchdog on Saturday expressed deep concern over Israel’s arrest and deportation of an Anadolu Agency photographer, Mustafa al-Kharouf.

In a letter to Aryeh Deri, Israel’s interior minister. Scott Griffen, deputy director of Vienna-based International Press Institute (IPI), said:

“We are concerned that Mr. Kharouf’s arrest on January 22 and the subsequent decision to deport are based on his work as a journalist reporting on issues that are inconvenient to the Israeli government.”

Griffen wrote:

“The [Israeli] government has not provided any reason for his arrest and there are no criminal cases pending against him.”

On January 22, Kharouf was arrested by the Israeli police. Since then, he has been held at a deportation center for illegal foreign migrants.

Since Kharouf was born in Algeria, Israeli prosecutors are calling for his expulsion from the West Bank to neighboring Jordan, despite the fact that his family hails from Jerusalem.

Kharouf has a type of Jordanian passport that only allows him to travel to neighboring Arab countries but does not grant him citizenship or residency rights in Jordan.

Griffen urged Deri to uphold human rights and defend press freedom by ensuring Kharouf is released from prison and the deportation is withdrawn.

Separating him from his family, Griffen added, would “constitute a gross violation of human rights and be seen as an attempt to silence a journalist.”

Kharouf has worked for Anadolu Agency as a photographer since last August.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

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