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Background: Jared Malsin's denial of entry and detention

Jan. 16, 2010 9:08 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 25, 2010 9:08 P.M.)
17 January 2010

For immediate release

Jared's phone was confiscated by El Al security officials when he boarded a flight in the Czech Public on 12 January 2010.

He was denied the opportunity to make any calls to his consulate, his family or a lawyer between 11am (upon boarding) and 11pm (when his phone was briefly returned).

In what can only be explained as a retaliatory measure for Malsin's reporting on Palestine, his long-term girlfriend, Faith Rowold, a two-year, registered volunteer with the Lutheran Church in Jerusalem, was also seized and placed in a holding cell pending deportation.

At 4pm when the flight was disembarked in Tel Aviv, Faith used the phone of a fellow traveler, an Israeli national, in the restroom of the airport. She called her sister with a brief message saying she had landed but indicated that there were problems.

At 6:30pm, the office of US Citizen Services was contacted in Jerusalem. Officials called Israeli airport authorities, who assured them that there were no American citizens being held in the airport at that time. The names of Jared and his companion, also a US national, were "not flagged." The official suggested the couple were out having a good time in Tel Aviv and had simply not gotten in touch.

The official also said the local police should be contacted if Jared were missing, but assured that his contacts at the airport were not holding him. Ma'an staff asked if the official could confirm whether or not Jared and his companion had in fact cleared immigration.

Jared used the phone of a French traveler admitted to the detention hall at 8:30pm to call his companion's sister again and asked her to immediately contact the US Embassy. He said he was being questioned and had been threatened with being denied entry into Israel. At this time, he provided passport numbers for himself and his fellow traveler.

A US Consulate official was again contacted with the information that Jared was not out in Tel Aviv, but had in fact been in Israeli custody since 11am that morning. The official immediately expressed concern and said he would call his contacts again at the airport.

The official called back after 9pm and asked for more information on Jared and his fellow traveler: are they married, is she pregnant, is there a Palestinian connection and, importantly, what newspaper does Jared write for. (Indeed, immigration authorities were aware of Jared's position as a news writer, although the Interior Ministry would later deny this fact.)

The consulate official was informed that Jared is affiliated with Ma'an. He was also informed that while the US, EU and UK fund programs and productions with the Ma'an Network, that staff at each of the consulates consult the English Desk daily, even hourly, the State of Israel does not recognize Ma'an as a news organization, and therefore denies its journalists press accreditation.

By 11pm on Tuesday night, both Jared and Faith were informed that they had been denied entry on security grounds. Their mobile phones were returned to them for two hours, and then confiscated just after midnight when the two were transferred to holding cells.

At 8am, the US consular official was contacted, called security at the airport and was informed that Jared and Faith were set to be deported at 6am on 14 January 2010, on the next direct flight to Prague, where they had been vacationing the week before.

For further inquiries, please contact:

George Hale (English)

972(0)52.785-4907

Raed Othman (Arabic)

972(0)59.925-8704

Nasser Lahham (Hebrew)

972(0)59.925-8704

For the most updated version of this news release, click here:

http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=253864
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