Editor-in-Chief Facing Deportation in Israel

For Immediate Release

Committee to Protect Journalists
Contact: 

Mohamed Abdel Dayem, program coordinator
(212) 465-1004, x103; E-mail: m.abdel.dayem@cpj.org

Editor-in-Chief Facing Deportation in Israel

NEW YORK - The Committee to Protect Journalists calls
for the immediate release in Israel of Jared Malsin, editor-in-chief of the
English-language section of the independent Bethlehem-based Ma'an News Agency.
A deportation hearing has been scheduled for Sunday.

Malsin, a U.S citizen, was returning to Bethlehem, where he lives, from a trip to Prague
with his partner, Faith Rowold, when Israeli authorities stopped them at the Ben Gurion
International Airport
in Tel Aviv on Tuesday afternoon, according to a statement
issued by Ma'an.

George Hale, an editor at Ma'an, told CPJ
that around 11 p.m. on Tuesday, the authorities informed both Malsin and Rowold
that they had been denied entry for "security reasons." Their mobile phones
were briefly returned to them, only to be confiscated again just after midnight
when they were transferred to holding cells.

The Israeli Ministry of Interior issued a deportation order on
Wednesday morning against Malsin for "security reasons," according to his
lawyer, Castro Daoud. "Interrogation transcripts show that Malsin
was deemed a security risk because of his political beliefs," Daoud told CPJ. "Security
at the airport gathered news stories written by him which they deemed critical
of the State of Israel." He added that security officials also interrogated Malsin
about a pro-Palestinian activist group called the International Solidarity
Movement. "My client has no affiliation with any activist group; the
allegations that he represents a security risk are baseless," Daoud added.

"We are alarmed by the Israeli government's efforts to
deport Jared Malsin on vague security charges," said CPJ Middle East and North
Africa Program Coordinator Mohamed Abdel Dayem "We call on the Israeli
authorities to ensure that our colleague be allowed to carry out his work
without further harassment."

Malsin was slated for expulsion back to Prague at 6:05 a.m. on January 14 but Daoud succeeded in
obtaining an injunction against the order. "We successfully appealed to the
Israeli Supreme Court to overrule the Ministry of Interior's decision thanks to
pressure from the U.S. Embassy," Daoud told CPJ

Israeli authorities do not recognize Ma'an as a news
organization and as such Malsin has been entering Israel
and the Occupied Territories on three-month visitor's
visas. Malsin's colleagues say that he is known to the Israeli military and
civilian authorities and had recently been invited to tour a military base on a
settlement in the occupied West Bank. Malsin
has been denied access to a shower, clean clothes, and reading and writing materials,
according to Hale, who was able to briefly talk to Malsin on Thursday morning.

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