Paris 28 August 2002
‘We ask the military authorities to investigate this incident,’ said RSF Secretary-General Robert Menard, ‘and we urge Israeli soldiers to take greater care, especially when journalists are clearly identifiable as such, as in this instance.’ Menard noted that since the beginning of the second Intifada in the Palestinian occupied territories, 46 journalists had been hit by gunfire. Following on the ground inquiries, the organisation has found that most of the shooting came from Israeli positions.
Several journalists - mostly Palestinians - were seriously wounded in these incidents, despite the fact that some were clearly identified as journalists and were positioned away from clashes when they were hit. With very few exceptions, no serious Israeli investigations into these shootings have been made and very few of those responsible have been punished.
Awad was hit by a rubber bullet fired by an Israeli soldier while he and other journalists were covering the clash, about 10 minutes after the start of the curfew on 26 August. He was slightly injured on the shoulder, a part of his body that was not protected by his bullet-proof jacket, marked “Press”. Awad was first taken to a Ramallah hospital and was later transferred to a Jerusalem hospital. He has been working for Reuters for the past 18 months.
Ahmed Bahaddou, a Belgian cameraman who works for Reuters, was expelled to Jordan on 15 August, a day after being refused entry into Israel. Reuters sound man Yusri el-Jamal, a Palestinian who was arrested in Hebron on 30 April, is still being held by the Israeli authorities. On 18 June, an Israeli military court rejected his application for immediate release. His imprisonment was extended for three months on 11 July.
For further information, contact Virginie Locussol at RSF, rue Geoffroy Marie, Paris 75009, France, tel: +33 1 44 83 84 84, fax: +33 1 45 23 11 51, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Internet: www.rsf.fr