Stateless Palestinian Journalist is facing deportation from Jerusalem: Request to appeal was submitted to the Israeli Supreme Court המוקד להגנת הפרט
Stateless Palestinian Journalist is facing deportation from Jerusalem: Request to appeal was submitted to the Israeli Supreme Court
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Yesterday, April 16, 2019, HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual submitted, via Attorney Adi Lustigman, a request to appeal to the Israeli Supreme Court on behalf of Mustafa al-Haruf, a journalist from Jerusalem who has been held in “detention pending deportation” for the past three months; this despite the fact that Mustafa is stateless and there is no country to which Israel can deport him.

Mustafa was born in Algeria to a Palestinian family from East Jerusalem. The family returned to East Jerusalem in 1999, when Mustafa was 12-years old and he has been living in the city ever since. He is married to a woman from East Jerusalem and is father to a two-year-old child, who, like her mother, has permanent Israeli residency.

For years, Mustafa and his family tried to have his status legalized. Due to the many bureaucratic obstacles imposed by the Ministry of Interior in all matters relating to the status of Palestinians in Jerusalem, Mustafa never received the status of permanent resident of Israel to which he is entitled as the son of East Jerusalem parents.

In 2014, the Ministry of Interior decided to give him a B/1-type tourist visa, but a year later it rejected his request to extend the visa, on “security” grounds. The Ministry of Interior said its decision was based on the photographs Mustafa published on his Facebook page, depicting “rallies of Hamas and events held at Temple Mount”, “funerals of ‘shahids’” and so on. This despite the fact that Mustafa clarified that the photographs did not reflect his political views, but showcased his photographic work.

After Mustafa married a Jerusalem permanent resident, it was decided in the framework of an appeal by HaMoked that he and his wife would submit an application for family unification. After protracted delays, on January 21, 2019, the MOI responded that it rejected the couple’s request due to unexplained “security reasons”. Mustafa was detained the following day and has been held ever since in Giv’on prison, used for holding people slated for deportation. An appeal to the Appeals Tribunal and an appeal to the District Court filed by HaMoked on his behalf were rejected.

“If there are any allegations against Mustafa, he should be indicted so he can respond to them”, says Attorney Adi Lustigman. “Israel can even hold a person in administrative detention without exposing the alleged evidence against them. But there is no security material that justifies deporting a man from his home and family”.

There is a strong suspicion that the denial of residency status and attempts to deport Mustafa stem from his work as a journalist. “His detention is an attack on freedom of the press in Israel”, Turgut Alp Boyraz, Mustafa’s employer in the Turkish news agency Anadolu, told the Appeals Tribunal.

“A person cannot be left stateless”, says Jessica Montell, Executive Director of HaMoked. “On the practical level, there is no sense holding Mustafa ‘pending deportation’ when there is no country to which Israel can deport him. The High Court of Justice has recognized East Jerusalemites as an indigenous population with a unique status. Israel must therefore release Mustafa without delay and give him the legal status to which he is entitled as a Jerusalemite”.
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