IFJ Joins Call for Release of Palestinian Journalists Held in Israel

The International

Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today joined the call by its affiliate in

Palestine, the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS), and Al Jazeera for the

immediate release of journalist Samer Allawy who was arrested and detained by

Israeli soldiers on 9 August. Samer, who is Al Jazeera Bureau Chief in

Afghanistan, was arrested on the West Bank border with Jordan after spending

his vacation with family in the Nablus city, according to the PJS.

"The Israeli authorities

have failed to provide any reason for Samer's arrest and we urge them to

release him to his family and colleague," said Jim Boumelha, IFJ President. "His

detention is a violation of his fundamental rights which must end forthwith. We

fully support the PJS and Al Jazeera's efforts to secure his release."

The PJS and Al Jazeera

organised a joint demonstration on Wednesday outside the prison near Ramallah

where Samer is held, to demand his release almost a month after his arrest.

Protesters also asked Israeli authorities to free Nawaf al Amer of Al Quds

satellite channel, Amer abu Arfa, correspondent of Shehab News Agency and

journalist Mohamed Bacharat who are in Israeli prisons.

The PJS President Abdelnnaser

Najjar accused the Israeli military of holding Samer in an attempt to obtain

information about his work in Afghanistan for the Qatari based television

network.

The IFJ is concerned

about the wellbeing of Samer who suffers from ill health and is likely to see

his condition deteriorate further if he remains in prison. The Federation also says

that the continued intimidation of Palestinian journalists by Israeli forces

through arbitrary arrests and detention undermines the efforts to create an

environment of tolerance and dialogue between the two communities.

"This crackdown on

Palestinian journalists is unfortunate because it denies people across the

divide access to impartial and responsible information," added Beth Costa, IFJ

General Secretary.  "The PJS tireless efforts

to promote professional journalism in Palestine should be supported by

responsible politicians, instead of being sabotaged on the basis of prejudice

and repression."

For more

information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 07

The IFJ represents more than

600.000 journalists in 131 countries