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Lack of transparency on Israel’s expulsion of US journalist

January 20, 2010

Reporters Without Borders today condemned suspicious circumstances surrounding Israel’s expulsion of US journalist, Jared Malsin, editor for the English service of the Palestinian press agency Ma’an.

“The journalist was expelled after giving up his right of appeal. This decision was taken in dubious circumstances in that the journalist’s lawyer was not present,” the worldwide press freedom organisation said.

“Did the journalist come under pressure?” it asked, “It is reasonable to question the legality of this expulsion in the absence of transparency on the part of the Israeli authorities”, it added.

Malsin was arrested on arrival at Ben Gurion international airport in Tel Aviv on 12 January and was interrogated for eight hours about his journalist work before being transferred to the airport’s detention centre.

The interior ministry decided that he should be expelled on a 6am flight on 14 January, but lawyer for the agency, Carlos Daoud, lodged an appeal against the decision.

Then on 19 January for reasons that are still unexplained, in the absence of his lawyer, Malsin signed a document asking for cancellation of the appeal lodged by Mr Daoud. George Hale, a journalist on Ma’an, said, “It is inexplicable that Malsin would knowingly drop the legal challenge (…). Ma’an wants to be sure these events did not take place under duress. (…) It is essential to clarify what happened between 2.30pm and 4.30pm on Tuesday afternoon.”

The Israeli interior ministry declined to comment.

For more information contact:
Reporters without Borders
Phone: 33 1 44 83 84 84

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