From Ma’an News Agency

13 January 2010 *****For immediate release*****

On Wednesday night, Ma’an attorney Castro Daoud filed an injunction in a Tel Aviv court to delay the deportation of Chief Editor for the English Desk at Ma’an News Agency Jared Malsin. The injunction was denied by the Attorney General an hour after it was filed, but accepted by Judge Solokov shortly before midnight.

The court records indicate that Malsin was denied entry for “failing to cooperate” with Israeli security personnel, because he had authored news articles “inside the territories,” and articles “criticizing the State of Israel.” Judge Solokov will hear Malsin’s case at 10am at the Tel Aviv Central District Court, 1 Weizmann Street. A verdict is expected at noon.

Jared Malsin, an American citizen, was detained upon arrival at Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv at 4pm on Tuesday, 12 January 2009. He was interrogated for eight hours in a detention hall at the airport during which time he had no access to a lawyer or his consulate. He was scheduled for deportation at 6am Thursday, but the deportation has now been temporarily stayed.

US Embassy staff have registered objections with the Israeli authorities over Malsin’s detention. Dutch officials, whose government provided some of Ma’an’s initial funding in 2005, expressed similar alarm in a letter that the US Embassy passed to Israel from Jack Twiss Quarles van Ufford, the head of the Representative Office of The Netherlands to the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah.

Israeli security agents have prevented Malsin from taking calls, and for hours lied to concerned US consular staff, initially denying that he was even being held. In what could only be explained as a retaliatory measure for Malsin’s reporting in Palestine, his long-term partner, Faith Rowold, a two-year volunteer with the Lutheran Church in Jerusalem, was also placed in a separate holding cell pending deportation. They have not been permitted contact ever since.

Nevertheless, foreign diplomats say there is little they can do in cases where Israel cites “security reasons” for denying a foreign-passport holder’s entry, although it has yet to specify any allegations in Malsin’s case. Israeli security officials, meanwhile, have quietly expressed concern to Ma’an over this latest exercise of power by the Interior Ministry.

Ma’an scrupulously maintains its editorial independence and aims to promote access to information, freedom of expression, press freedom, and media pluralism in Palestine. It has no other agenda. Israel’s arbitrary detention of the head of its English Desk is an affront to journalists not only in Palestine, but also in Israel and abroad, who rely on Ma’an for its accuracy, impartiality, and independence.

For more information, please contact:

George Hale (English) +972(0)52.785-4907 Raed Othman (Arabic) +972(0)59.925-8704

Hakim Abdul Salah (Hebrew) +972(0)59.895-1151

Detailed timeline of events during Jared’s initial detention


14 January 2010 ***For immediate release ***

Ma’an is pleased to share news that Tel Aviv District Judge Mirium Solokov agreed to hear the case of its chief English editor, Jared Malsin, during proceedings held at her court on Thursday morning.

Solokov rejected a request by the Israeli attorney general to dismiss an injunction filed by Ma’an that would temporarily prevent Malsin’s impending expulsion. Setting a hearing for Sunday, Solokov asked both sides to gather additional information.

Malsin, an American citizen, was originally detained upon arrival at Ben Gurion International Airport on Tuesday, 12 January 2009. He was held along with his girlfriend, Lutheran Church volunteer Faith Rowold, who was deported early Thursday morning.

Since he was detained, Malsin has been denied contact with anyone but a consular representative and his lawyer, who has been permitted to visit just once and for less than 20 minutes. According to the attorney, Carlos Daoud, ever since the judge accepted Malsin’s case, new obstacles have been put in place to prevent him from seeing his client.

More than 48 hours after he was first detained, Malsin is still being denied access to any of his belongings. He was not been given a change of clothes, toiletries, or offered the chance to shower. “I have nothing,” he said during a visit to his detention cell by a US consular official on Thursday afternoon. “I don’t even have a pen or paper, not even a book.”

While Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev has described as “absurd” multiple reports that Malsin’s detention was linked to his position as a professional journalist, documents filed by the attorney general suggest otherwise. Indeed, the official explanation filed by the country’s own immigration department cited news stories Malsin had authored “inside the territories,” and “criticizing the State of Israel.”

The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, the Committee to Protect Journalists, Reporters Without Borders, and the International Press Institute have all issued public statements condemning Israel’s decision to detain Malsin, and have urged his unconditional release.

Dutch officials, whose government provided some of Ma’an’s initial funding in 2005, expressed concern and are monitoring the situation. US consular staff continue to closely monitor the case and have contacted Israeli officials over the incident. Dozens of government representatives in Palestine have privately contacted Ma’an to express their own concerns, indicating they may try to take action.

Ma’an scrupulously maintains its editorial independence and aims to promote access to information, freedom of expression, press freedom, and media pluralism in Palestine. It has no other agenda. Israel’s arbitrary detention of the head of its English Desk is an affront to journalists not only in Palestine, but also in Israel and abroad, who rely on Ma’an for its accuracy, impartiality, and independence.

News reports on Jared Maslin