Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency (AA) urged Israel to review the case of its Palestinian photojournalist, who was arrested on Jan. 22 and faces the risk of deportation from Jerusalem to Jordan. Mustafa Kharouf's application for family unification was rejected regarding data that has not been made public, Şenol Kazancı, the agency's director-general, said in a letter to Gilad Erdan, the Israeli minister of public security.
Kharouf was detained by Israeli police on Jan. 22. On March 31, an Israeli court extended his detention until May 5. Because he was born in Algeria, Israeli prosecutors are calling for Kharouf's expulsion from the occupied West Bank to neighboring Jordan despite the fact that his family hails from Jerusalem. Kharouf holds a Jordanian passport that allows him to travel to neighboring Arab countries but does not grant him citizenship or residence rights in Jordan. He has worked for AA as a photographer since August of last year.
"Regarding human rights, freedom of the press and freedom of expression, we urge Israel to review Mr. Mustafa Kharouf's case and let him unite with his family by issuing him a residence permit in a situation which is already being closely followed by international media institutions," Kazancı said. Noting that Kharouf has been living in Jerusalem for over 20 years and has a Palestinian mother and a Palestinian wife and children, Kazanci said the agency has "doubts that his deportation is mainly related to the Israeli government's discomfort of his journalistic activities." "We are deeply concerned about the well-being of our photojournalist Mr. Mustafa Kharouf, who is under custody in a violation of freedom of the press by Israeli authorities," he added. He noted that concern was also conveyed to the Israeli minister of the interior and the Israeli Government Press Office by the International Press Institute and the International Federation of Journalists, respectively. In a separate statement, the agency also called on national and international press organizations to react and take action over the violation of both human rights and press freedom.