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UN urges Israel not to deport Anadolu Agency journalist

UN rapporteurs call on Israel not to deprive Kharouf of his liberty but instead to ensure his right to freedom of expression

Fatih Hafiz Mehmet   | 01.08.2019
UN urges Israel not to deport Anadolu Agency journalist FILE PHOTO

ANKARA

UN officials are urging Israel to stop its efforts to deport an Anadolu Agency photojournalist, according to a written statement from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The statement late Wednesday said during the night of July 21-22, Israeli authorities attempted to deport photojournalist Mustafa Kharouf to Jordan, a country where he has no residency rights -- an attempt Jordan rejected.

“The effort by Israeli authorities to deport Mr. Al-Kharouf to Jordan, where he has never lived and does not have any legal residency rights, raises serious concerns under both international humanitarian law and international human rights law,” said Michael Lynk, special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Palestine, in the statement.

The statement said Kharouf has previously been questioned about the nature of his work as a photojournalist.

David Kaye, special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, added in the statement: “The detention and deportation of Mr. Al-Kharouf directly interfere with Al-Kharouf’s legitimate exercise of rights to freedom of opinion and expression as a photojournalist.”

The statement said both rapporteurs urged Israel not to arbitrarily deprive Kharouf of his liberty, but instead to ensure that his rights to freedom of opinion and expression are protected.

Denied long-term residency

Kharouf, 32, was detained by Israeli police in East Jerusalem in January and held in prison in advance of his planned deportation to Jordan.

Israeli authorities say that Kharouf, who has lived in Jerusalem with his family since he was 12, was born in Algeria.

For the last 20 years, Israeli authorities have consistently refused to grant Kharouf a long-term residency permit, forcing him to obtain fresh tourist visas each year.

While Kharouf holds a Jordanian passport that allows him to travel to neighboring Arab states, it does not give him citizenship or residency rights in Jordan.

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

The 1967 Arab-Israeli War, also known as the Six-Day War, resulted in Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza and Syria’s Golan Heights, triggering the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and Syrians.

Under international law, the territories captured by Israel in the war are regarded as occupied territory.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has proven one of the most intractable in modern history, causing massive human suffering and economic deprivation.

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