Mustafa Kharouf, a Palestinian photographer for Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency (AA), faces deportation by Israel. Kharouf, who has been detained in January 22 in his East Jerusalem house by Israeli forces under the pretext of not having a residence permit, was not brought to a third hearing in a Jerusalem court from the detention center he was held. The court expected to issue a ruling within a few days. Kharouf, who was born in Algeria with a family hailing from East Jerusalem, has been living in the city since he was 12. Israel has refused to issue him a residence permit despite his persistent appeals.
His lawyer Adi Lustigman told the court in yesterday's hearing that his client has been trying to get a residence permit for a long time and had nowhere to go if he is deported as he was not the citizen of any country at the moment. Lustigman said Kharouf had a document that can be used as a substitute for residence permit after his marriage to a woman with legal a residence permit but Israeli authorities did not recognize this either, despite laws giving Kharouf the right of residence. The judge said Kharouf had links to "illegal organizations" but his lawyer rejected the charges.
Speaking to reporters after the hearing, Lustigman said his client had no crime other than working as a journalist. He said that Israeli intelligence officials presented "evidence" for Kharouf's links to illegal groups but he was not allowed to see what the evidence is. "Kharouf did nothing wrong other than covering what Israel did not want him to record with his camera on the streets of Jerusalem. It is easier than detaining journalists from other countries," the lawyer said.
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