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British Journalist Held at Ben Grurion

Casp | 12.08.2004 21:14 | Repression | Social Struggles

A British journalist has been detained since Wednesday at Ben-Gurion International Airport after security forces denied her entry into the country on the grounds that she is a left-wing activist who could not be objective in her portrayal of local events and who could unknowingly assist violent organizations.

The journalist, 26-year-old Eva Jasiewicd, was interrogated for seven hours Wednesday by Defense Ministry officials.

The questioning resulted in a ministry decision to deport her from Israel, possibly as soon as Friday morning. Jasiewicd told her interrogators that she had arrived in Israel to work for a British magazine associated with the left-wing, as well as for the Labour Party's internal newspaper.

She also said that she is a graduate of the University of London, with degrees in both Anthropology and journalism.

"She was not coming as a journalist, she was coming for political activism. That in itself would not prevent her entry into Israel but the fact that she entered in the past under aliases is enough, it's a violation in any country," said government spokesman Danny Seaman.

Jasiewicz's lawyer Yael Barda said her client visited Israel under a different name in the past but had changed her name legally in order to avoid attempts by Israeli officials to bar her from entering the country.

"It wasn't an alias. She legally changed her name and then ... she decided (this time) she didn't want to hide her identity so she changed her name back," Barda said.

She added the real reason authorities were trying to bar Jasiewicz's entry into the country was because "she posed a media threat."

Barda, filed an urgent petition with the Tel Aviv District Court to try and allow her client to stay in the country.

Barda said her client told authorities that she had connections to the International Solidarity Movement and was an advocacy journalist. "She does say 'I am a journalist with an agenda. I write about human writes and activism'," Barda said.

"My client believes that the freedom of the press is critical in these kinds of conflicts," Barda said.