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Last Update: 16 Hour and 1 Minute ago
News code: 23980
Published Date: Wednesday 1 November 2017 - 13:25:02
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Israel denies entry to human rights advocate

Israel denies entry to human rights advocate
World  - Refusing entry to a human rights advocate because they work for an organization that has criticized human rights violations by Israel would constitute a blatant assault on freedom of expression, said Philip Luther, an Amnesty International member.


Raed Jarrar, Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International USA, was stopped at the Allenby/King Hussein crossing between Jordan and the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Amnesty International reported.

In a personal trip to visit family in Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) following the recent death of his father, he was interrogated by Israeli officials about the reasons for his visit, his family in the OPT, his work with Amnesty International and in particular the organization's work denouncing Israeli settlements in the West Bank, before being denied entry and returned back to Jordan.


"The fact that Raed Jarrar was barred from entry after being interrogated about his work with Amnesty International appears to suggest that this move was taken in retaliation for the organization's work on human rights violations in the OPT," said Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.


"This appears to be another ominous signal of the Israeli authorities' resolve to silence human rights organizations and activists who are critical of the Israeli government. It flies in the face of the government's repeated claims that Israel is a tolerant state, respectful of human rights."


Raed Jarrar was asked to explain Amnesty International's work and the nature of his own role with the organization. At one point the officials asked him "Why does Amnesty International have a problem [with] Israel?" When he answered that he did not know of any problems, the officials referred to the organization's work on the "West Bank settlements" - an apparent reference to Amnesty International's recent campaign calling on states to ban imports of Israeli settlement products.


The officials later mentioned they had read about the organization's work on settlements on Amnesty International's website. He was also asked to give names of staff at Amnesty International's Israeli section in Tel Aviv and the International Secretariat branch in Jerusalem.


After his interrogation, Raed Jarrar was given a document confirming that he was denied entry under Israel's Entry to Israel Law citing "public security" or "public order" considerations and the "prevention of illegal immigration" as reasons. When he asked for clarification he was told the grounds of public security and public order applied to him but the officials did not elaborate any further.


"Refusing entry to a human rights advocate because they work for an organization that has criticized human rights violations by Israel would constitute a blatant assault on freedom of expression," said Philip Luther.

News Code: 23980
Published Date: Wednesday 1 November 2017 - 13:25:02
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