Israeli, reporting on border crossings, detained in Egypt

New York, March 17, 2010The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned about the arrest of an Israeli journalist on assignment in Egypt. Yotam Feldman was arrested Sunday near the Egyptian-Israeli border while reporting on African immigrants illegally crossing into Israel, according to news accounts

Israeli TV Channel 10 said in a statement that Feldman was on assignment for the station and was working on a piece about illegal immigration. Feldman, a staff reporter for the Israeli daily Haaretz, had taken a 10-day leave to carry out the television assignment, Haaretz said in a statement. The precise location of Feldman’s arrest was not immediately clear.

Feldman is being questioned by the state prosecutor’s office, according to an Egyptian state security officer who would not provide his name, saying he was not authorized to discuss the case publicly. The official said Feldman may be released at the end of the investigation, or he could stand trial before a military court on charges of illegally crossing the border. If Feldman were found guilty on such a charge, he could face one year in prison.

“Yotam Feldman is a reporter who was covering a story of public interest,” said Mohamed Abdel Dayem, CPJ Middle East and North Africa program coordinator. “We urge the Egyptian authorities to release him.”