Israeli Forces Detain Journalists Aboard Humanitarian Flotilla

For Immediate Release

Committee to Protect Journalists
Contact: 

Mohamed Abdel Dayem, program coordinator 

Phone: (212) 465-1004, x103;
E-mail: m.abdel.dayem@cpj.org  

Israeli Forces Detain Journalists Aboard Humanitarian Flotilla

WASHINGTON - Israel should immediately
release the journalists it detained along with hundreds of peace
activists on
Monday after Israeli forces stormed a convoy of ships carrying
humanitarian aid
to the Gaza Strip, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
According
to international news reports and CPJ interviews, Israeli forces
arrested at
least 20 journalists aboard the humanitarian flotilla; three have since
been
released.

"We condemn the arrests of these journalists,
who were on the boats reporting
an unfolding news event," said CPJ Middle East
and North
Africa Program Coordinator Mohamed Abdel Dayem. "Israel must give a
full accounting
of all the journalists in its custody. We call on the government to
release all
journalists immediately so they can continue to cover this breaking
story."

Sydney Morning Herald
correspondent Paul McGeough and photographer Kate Geraghty are being
held at
Ela Prison in Beersheba,
Janet Rosenberg, the Sydney Morning
Herald
's
night chief of staff, told CPJ. Both McGeough and Geraghty
have
received consular visits and will be deported in the next few days,
Rosenberg said. Brazilian documentarian
Iara Lee is also being detained by the Israeli military, according to
her Web
site, Cultures
of Resistance
.

Israel also detained at least six members of an
Al-Jazeera crew,
although it released Othman Battiri, Mohammed Vall, and Ali Sabri today,
according an Al-Jazeera news bulletin. Abbas Nasser, Waseema bin Saleh
Wissam,
and Andre Abou Khalil remain in custody in a prison near Beersheba, West
Bank-based
Al-Jazeera producer Wessam Hammad told CPJ.

Reporter Svetoslav Ivanov and cameraman
Valentin Vassilev of the Bulgarian
television station BTV were arrested then transferred to the deportation
division
of Israel's Ben Gurion
International Airport
in Tel Aviv, where they are being held, Bulgarian Foreign Minister
Nikolai
Mladenov said in a media
statement. South African Radio 786 correspondent Gadija Davids was
arrested but
her whereabouts were unknown, Radio 786's News Editor Zubeida Samsodein
told
CPJ. David Segarra, correspondent for Caracas-based South American
television
channel Telesur is missing, according to the channel. CPJ was unable to
ascertain
Segarra's condition or whether he is in Israeli custody. Telesur called
for his
immediate release in a statement.

Abbas al-Lawati, correspondent for the
Dubai-based Gulf
News
was being detained in Israel and should be deported in
the next few days, his brother Mohamed al-Lawati told CPJ. Talat
Hussain,
correspondent for Pakistani television channel Aaj TV was arrested, and
is
expected to be released within
next
12 hours, the Pakistani Ministry of Interior said in a statement.
Muna Shester, reporter for the Kuwait News Agency, was
also said
to be missing, according
to international news reports. CPJ was unable to determine Shester's
condition
or whether she was in Israeli custody.

Foreign News Chief Sümeyye Ertekin,
producer
Ümit
Sönmez,
and cameraman Ersin Esen of the
Turkish
broadcaster VNET were arrested and transferred to Ben Gurion Airport to
be deported, according to Turkish news
reports. Italian journalist Angela Lano is being held in Ela prison, according
to the Rome-based ANSA news agency.

Six ships left Turkey
on Sunday carrying approximately 700 people to deliver 10,000 tons of
humanitarian aid to Gaza,
which has been under an Israeli blockade since 2007.

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