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Press union slams Anadolu Agency photographer arrest

International Federation of Journalists urges Mustafa al-Kharouf's release, saying he should be allowed to stay in West Bank

Erdoğan Çağatay Zontur   | 03.03.2019
Press union slams Anadolu Agency photographer arrest

ANKARA  

A major journalists' group on Sunday called on Israel to “immediately” release an Anadolu Agency photographer, Mustafa al-Kharouf, adding that he should be allowed to stay in the West Bank.

“The problems faced by Mr Kharouf, including his detention and threat of deportation, have arisen as a result of his journalistic work – in particular after he started work at Anadolu Press Agency in August 2018 at which time the authorities began to treat him as an illegal resident,” Anthony Bellanger, general secretary of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), said in a letter to Nitzan Chen, head of the Israeli Government Press Office.

On Jan. 22, Kharouf was arrested by the Israeli police. Since then, he has been held at a deportation center for illegal foreign migrants.

Since Kharouf was born in Algeria, Israeli prosecutors are calling for his expulsion from the West Bank to neighboring Jordan, even though his family hails from Jerusalem.

Kharouf has a type of Jordanian passport that only allows him to travel to neighboring Arab countries but does not grant him citizenship or residency rights in Jordan.

Bellanger decried how the evidence Israel is using against Kharouf is “secret and has not been disclosed.” He added that if Kharouf is being challenged as a result of his journalistic work, this "is an unacceptable denial of media freedom and freedom of expression”.

Kharouf has worked for Anadolu Agency as a photographer since last August.

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