(for Index on Censorship)
Jewish-American journalist Jared Malsin, the chief English editor at the Maan agency, was put on a plane to New York this morning, without being allowed to speak to his lawyer. His appeal process was cut short.
According to colleagues at Maan, Malsin last met with his lawyer, Castro Daud, yesterday, to discuss his statement for an appeal hearing, scheduled to be held at Tel Aviv district court. Shortly after Daud lef Malsin was approached by two officials, who asked him to write an independent motion stating he was not being forced to leave the country and that when he left, he would leave voluntarily. They told Malsin this was necessary for his departure, and Malsin, having spent a week in a detention cell at Ben Gurion airport, did as he was told. He was not allowed to speak to his lawyer before or after signing the statement, and colleagues said he was not made aware this would have any implications on his appeal.
However, the statement was quickly delivered to the judge, who proceeded to close the appeal process and clear the ground for Malsin’s deportation.
Last night, Daud was told that his client has decided to terminate his appeal and leave Israel, and that he would be deported to Prague.
The District Attorney’s office claimed in an earlier statement to the Tel Aviv court that Malsin was being deported for strictly legal considerations — having entered Israel multiple times, allegedly lied about his intention to immigrate and outstayed his welcome. Both government spokesman Mark Regev and Interior Ministry spokeswoman Sabine Haddad denied Malsin’s detention had anything to do with his writing. However, an internal report on his interrogation obtained by Maan reveals that Malsin’s deportation is directly linked to his journalistic work.
The report says Malsin has entered Israel a number of time, stating on the last occasion that he was considering making “aliyah” — immigrating to Israel under the Law of Return, which guarantees citizenship to any Jewish person anywhere.
“Searching his name on the internet showed that on his personal website — in his CV — he states that he has been covering events in the Palestinian Authority for the past year and seven months,” reads the report. “Further search brought up articles of which in which he covers events in the territories from a viewpoint critical of Israel. When asked why would he consider making an aliyah and becoming an Israeli citizen, since his anti-Israel opinions were perfectly clear, the passenger chose to remain silent.
Click here to read the rest of the piece, or click below to see the Interior Ministry report.