New York, May 28, 2002—Reuters photographer Suhaib Jadallah Salem was released by Israeli authorities yesterday after being detained for five days. According to Reuters news reports, no charges were filed.
Israeli authorities detained Salem on May 22 at the Abu Holi checkpoint in the Gaza Strip.
Reuters reported that Salem was attempting to enter the town of Rafah, en route to Egypt, where he was scheduled to fly to Japan to cover the World Cup soccer tournament. He was traveling in a Reuters armored car, clearly identified as a press vehicle, with a driver and two other passengers.
Salem was held at a prison near the Erez crossing. According to a family member, the journalist is still in Gaza. His camera equipment, passport, and airline ticket have not been returned to him.
Reuters reported that Israeli soldiers produced a plastic bag containing a grenade while they were searching Salem’s car.
“I had never seen it before,” said Salem when he was released. “I don’t know where it came from.”
Four other journalists—Youssry al-Jamal of Reuters; Hussam Abu Alan of Agence France-Presse; Maher al-Dessouki, host of a television show on Al-Quds Educational TV; and Kamel Jbeil, an Al-Quds newspaper reporter—have been arrested in the West Bank during the last several weeks. They remain in detention.