Reporters Without Borders condemns the two-month jail sentences that a Jerusalem court has imposed on Khodr Shahine, the correspondent of the Iranian Arabic-language TV station Al-Alam, and his assistant, Mohammed Sarhan, for reporting the start of the Israeli land offensive against the Gaza Strip on the evening of 3 January before military censorship was lifted.
In a decision issued on 14 June, the court also gave the two journalists, who are Palestinians, additional suspended sentences of four months in prison.
“This is a political decision,” Reporters Without Borders said. “One day they accused of spying. Then they are released. And now they are given two-month jail terms, just after Mahmound Ahmadinejad’s reelection in Iran. Journalists should not be hostages to geopolitical developments.”
Reporters Without Borders urges the Israeli authorities to free them and quash their conviction.
A Jerusalem resident, Shahine went to a police station in Petah Tikva (near Tel Aviv) on 5 January in response to a summons. Sarhan accompanied him in order to make a statement in his defence. They were immediately arrested and were charged on 13 January with “divulging secret information” and “transmitting information to the enemy in wartime.”
After their lawyer, David Derri, obtained their release on bail on 15 January, they were placed under house arrest and were instructed not to do any journalistic work until their trial.