ISRAEL - Two Palestinian journalists employed by Iranian TV freed on bail after being held for 10 days on spying charges



    MONTREAL, Jan. 16 /CNW Telbec/ - Reporters Without Borders hails
yesterday's release of two Palestinian journalists employed by the Iranian
Arabic-language TV station Al-Alam, who were held by the Israeli authorities
for 10 days on spying charges. However, they were freed on bail and are still
accused of "revealing secret information" and "transmitting information to the
enemy in war time."
    "The disproportion between the nature of the charges against these two
journalists and their conditional release after 10 days leads us to question
to quality of the evidence available to the Israeli authorities," Reporters
Without Borders said. "The authorities should think twice before going ahead
with a prosecution of such a serious nature."
    Khader Shaheen, a Jerusalem resident and Al-Alam correspondent, was
summoned for questioning by the Israeli police on 5 January for reporting the
start of Israel's land offensive against the Gaza Strip on 3 January before
the Israeli censors lifted the news embargo on this development.
    His assistant, Mohammed Sarhan, accompanied him to the Petah Tikva police
station, near Tel Aviv, in order to give evidence in his defence.
    After questioning them, the police placed both of them under arrest. When
they were taken before a judge the next day, he ordered them held for another
six days for further investigation. Another two days of detention were ordered
in a subsequent hearing. They were formally charged on 13 January.
    Their lawyer, David Derri, finally managed to get them released yesterday
after payment of bail. However, they have been placed under house arrest and
are forbidden to do journalistic work of any kind until their trial, for which
no date has yet been set.




For further information:

For further information: Katherine Borlongan, Executive Director,
Reporters Without Borders Canada, (514) 521-4111, rsfcanada@rsf.org

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