Anadolu Agency on Tuesday urged Israel to review the case of its Palestinian photojournalist, who was arrested on Jan. 22 and faces a risk of deportation from Jerusalem to Jordan.
Mustafa Kharouf’s application for family unification was rejected regarding the data that have not been made public, Senol Kazanci, the agency’s director-general, said in a letter to Gilad Erdan, minister of public security of Israel.
Kharouf was detained by Israeli police on Jan. 22. On March 31, an Israeli court extended his detention until May 5.
Because he was born in Algeria, Israeli prosecutors are calling for Kharouf’s expulsion from the occupied East Jerusalem to neighboring Jordan -- despite the fact that his family hails from Jerusalem.
Kharouf holds a Jordanian passport that allows him to travel to neighboring Arab countries but does not grant him citizenship or residence rights in Jordan.
He has worked for Anadolu Agency as a photographer since August of last year.
"Regarding human rights, rights of press freedom and freedom of expression we urge Israel to review Mr. Mustafa Kharouf’s case and let him unite with his family by giving his residence permit in a situation which is already being followed by international media institutions," Kazanci said.
Noting that Kharouf has been living in Jerusalem for over 20 years and has a Palestinian mother, a Palestinian wife, and children, Kazanci said the agency has “doubts that his deportation is mainly related to the Israeli government’s discomfort of his journalistic activities”.
"We are deeply concerned about the wellbeing of our Photo Journalist Mr. Mustafa Kharouf who is under custody and such violation of freedom of the press by Israeli authorities," he added.
He noted the concern was also conveyed to Israeli Minister of Interior and Israeli Government Press Office by the International Press Institute and International Federation of Journalists, respectively.
In a separate statement, the agency also called on national and international press organizations to react and take action over the violation of both human rights and press freedom.
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