July 9, 2008
His Excellency Ehud Olmert
State of Israel
Via Facsimile: +972-2-5669245
The Committee to Protect Journalists is writing to express alarm about the treatment of an award-winning Palestinian journalist who said he was abused by Israeli Shin Bet agents at the Allenby Bridge border crossing between Israel and Jordan late last month.
According to press reports, the Shin Bet alleged that Omer was treated well and not subject to “extraordinary measures.” Israeli officials told Inter Press Service that Omer was not mistreated and that he merely “lost his balance” after he was searched on suspicion of “smuggling in illegal items.” Israel’s embassy in Washington, DC, did not return CPJ’s calls today requesting clarification.
We find these allegations both serious and deeply disturbing and believe the failure of Israeli government officials to address these charges suggests its tolerance of such actions. We call on you to ensure that an immediate and thorough investigation is launched and that its findings are made public. Those determined to be responsible for wrongdoing should be punished to the fullest extend of the law.