Palestinian journalists remain in detention

New York, July 11, 2002—The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is deeply disturbed that Israeli authorities continue to detain three Palestinian journalists—Reuters sound technician Youssry al-Jamal, photographer Hussam Abu Alan of Agence France-Presse, and Al-Quds newspaper reporter Kamel Jbeil.

Al-Jamal was arrested on April 30 while filming near Al-Ahli Hospital in Hebron, and Abu Alan and Jbeil were picked up several weeks ago in the West Bank.

According to a June 18 military court decision, al-Jamal was to be released on July 10.

However, al-Jamal’s detention continues, and Reuters today protested to Israeli authorities. The news agency noted that it has been denied access to information about its employee’s detention.

A June 23 letter to CPJ from the Israeli Prime Minister’s Bureau said that the journalists in detention were “arrested on suspicion of having contact (unrelated to their journalistic work) with a terrorist organization.” However, the letter to CPJ presented no evidence to support a terrorist connection, and after months of detention, none of the three journalists has been charged with a crime.

Meanwhile, Maher al-Dessouki, the host of a popular talk show on the Ramallah-based Al-Quds Educational TV, who was detained on or about April 18, was released on June 27. No charges were made against Al-Dessouki, who was taken from his brother-in-law’s home by Israeli soldiers along with Jbeil, who remains in detention with the other two journalists.

“We protest the prolonged detention without charge of these journalists by Israeli authorities,” said CPJ executive director, Ann Cooper. “They should be released immediately.”