Kharouf’s deportation was frozen at the last moment as a result of the request for a stay that his lawyer, Adi Lustigman, had submitted to the Israeli supreme court the previous day. A final decision on his deportation is now postponed until the same day as a decision on his release request, which is pending before an Israeli appeal court.
“We call for nothing less than Mustafa Al-Kharouf’s release and the complete withdrawal of deportation proceedings against him,” RSF’s Middle East desk said. “The Israeli justice system must stop blocking recognition of his status as a resident and must not treat his photos as a sign of bias in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
Kharouf grew up in East Jerusalem and has worked there as a photographer for the Turkish news agency Anadolu for years, but the Israeli authorities are now trying to deport him on the grounds that he lacks residency papers.
He was arrested on 21 January, the same day that he was notified that his latest application for legal recognition of his status as a resident had been denied. During a hearing in February, the Israeli police accused him of having preferential contacts with Hamas, which he denied.
Israel is ranked 88th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2019 World Press Freedom Index.