Center for the Defence of the Individual - Despite the failure of the deportation attempt: a stateless journalist from Jerusalem, incarcerated for some six months “pending deportation”, has been taken back to prison
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חזרה לעמוד הקודם

Despite the failure of the deportation attempt: a stateless journalist from Jerusalem, incarcerated for some six months “pending deportation”, has been taken back to prison

Mustafa al-Haruf, an Algerian-born photojournalist, is from an East Jerusalem Palestinian family, and has been living in the city since he was 12. His family’s attempts to legalize his status failed due to the bureaucratic obstacles raised by the Ministry of Interior with regards to the status of Jerusalemite Palestinians. And thus he remains stateless to this day, despite the fact that he belongs to an indigenous population of the city, a population with a unique status, as recognized by the High Court of Justice.

Since 2015, the Ministry of Interior has rejected his requests for permits and status on security grounds. In late 2018, the Ministry of Interior rejected on these grounds the request, filed by Mustafa and his Jerusalemite spouse, to grant him status by virtue of his marriage, under the family unification procedure. Soon after, in early 2019, Mustafa was arrested and placed in detention “pending deportation”. Despite the repeated laconic security claims, Israel has not seen fit to indict Mustafa and opted for the drastic measure of prolonged administrative incarceration “prior to removal”, with the intention to separate him from his only home, his parents and his wife and two-year-old daughter.

On July 17, 2019, the Supreme Court rejected HaMoked’s request, filed via Attorney Adi Lustigman, to hear a second appeal of the Ministry of Interior’s refusal to give Mustafa status by virtue of his marriage. Justice Hendel’s decision says that according to “the classified material” submitted for the court’s perusal, the “security threat” ascribed to Mustafa does not stem from his work as a journalist but from civil activity in the “sphere of publicity [hasbara]” for Hamas. Therefore, the court ruled, there was no call to accept HaMoked’s request to revisit once more the Minister of Interior’s decision, given that the case did not raise the principled issue of the proper balance between security considerations and freedom of the press. “Whatever flaws attended the [Ministry of Interior’s] original decision, the current decision… is based on professional assessments… Therefore, even if I assume that another outcome could have been reached, we have certainly not arrived at a miscarriage of justice”, wrote Justice Hendel.

The decision also determined that “the lack of status in another country has a bearing on the ability of the applicants’ family unit to preserve itself by the [wife and infant daughter] joining the applicant in his country of residence, and this potentially influences the proper balance between security considerations and the right to family life…” However, the court ruled that the applicants’ failed to “prove that the applicant is without status in Jordan”. For this reason, Justice Hendel also refrained from intervening in the matter of Mustafa’s deportation, noting, however, that “admittedly, the changes in the state’s version [as to the feasibility of deportation to Jordan] raise questions”.

On 22 July, 2019, an attempt was made to deport Mustafa to Jordan but the Jordanian authorities refused to accept him. For many hours his whereabouts were unknown to his family or HaMoked. Only after HaMoked’s urgent letter to the State Attorney’s Office, sent prior to the filing of a habeas corpus petition, HaMoked was informed that Mustafa was being taken back to Giv’on Prison for custody “pending deportation”. This despite the fact that he has been incarcerated on this basis for over six months, and the Ministry of Interior has not bothered to complete its examination as to whether he can actually be deported anywhere.

HaMoked will continue its efforts to bring about Mustafa’s release from custody and have him receive the status he is entitled to as a member of an East Jerusalem family.