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IFJ Joins Call for Release of Palestinian Journalists Held in Israel
September 8, 2011The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today joined the call by its affiliate in Palestine, the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS), and Al Jazeera for the immediate release of journalist Samer Allawy who was arrested and detained by Israeli soldiers on 9 August. Samer, who is Al Jazeera Bureau Chief in Afghanistan, was arrested on the West Bank border with Jordan after spending his vacation with family in the Nablus city, according to the PJS.
"The Israeli authorities have failed to provide any reason for Samer's arrest and we urge them to release him to his family and colleague," said Jim Boumelha, IFJ President. "His detention is a violation of his fundamental rights which must end forthwith. We fully support the PJS and Al Jazeera's efforts to secure his release."
The PJS and Al Jazeera organised a joint demonstration on Wednesday outside the prison near Ramallah where Samer is held, to demand his release almost a month after his arrest. Protesters also asked Israeli authorities to free Nawaf al Amer of Al Quds satellite channel, Amer abu Arfa, correspondent of Shehab News Agency and journalist Mohamed Bacharat who are in Israeli prisons.
The PJS President Abdelnnaser Najjar accused the Israeli military of holding Samer in an attempt to obtain information about his work in Afghanistan for the Qatari based television network.
The IFJ is concerned about the wellbeing of Samer who suffers from ill health and is likely to see his condition deteriorate further if he remains in prison. The Federation also says that the continued intimidation of Palestinian journalists by Israeli forces through arbitrary arrests and detention undermines the efforts to create an environment of tolerance and dialogue between the two communities.
"This crackdown on Palestinian journalists is unfortunate because it denies people across the divide access to impartial and responsible information," added Beth Costa, IFJ General Secretary. "The PJS tireless efforts to promote professional journalism in Palestine should be supported by responsible politicians, instead of being sabotaged on the basis of prejudice and repression."
For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 07
For more information contact:
International Federation of Journalists
Phone: + 32 2 235 22 07