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Al-Alam reporter ‘deprived of basic rights’ in Israeli jail


A correspondent with Iran’s Arabic news channel Al-Alam, recently released from detention, says overall conditions in Israeli jails are “worrying.”

Bassam al-Safadi, a local journalist for Al-Alam from the occupied Golan Heights, was freed to house arrest Sunday, five days after he was arrested by Israel.

In his first interview after the release, the journalist said he faced repeated interrogation under duress over charges of threatening Israel’s security and contacts with anti-Zionist centers.

“I was interrogated every day and deprived of the most basic rights in prison,” Safadi told Al-Alam on Sunday.

The journalist described Israel’s treatment of journalists as “inhuman,” which has no conformity with freedom of expression.

Safadi was arrested by Israel on Wednesday at his home for alleged incitement and supporting terror groups before being freed to house arrest by a court in Nazareth.

Israeli police say the investigation into the allegations against Safadi, a 43-year-old resident of the village of Majdal Shams, is still ongoing.

Majdal Shams is one of the largest Druze communities in Israel. The town was annexed by Israel in the 1970s but residents continue to support the Syrian government and have refused to accept Israeli citizenship.

On its website, Al-Alam said Safadi’s arrest was linked to an explosive report in which he said that Israel was “stealing” oil on the Golan Heights.

The article referred to exploratory drilling in the Israeli-occupied side of the plateau, which it captured from Syria during the 1967 Six Day War.

Safadi’s arrest was not the first such incident and Israeli forces have previously nabbed Al-Alam correspondents.

In 2009, two other reporters for Al-Alam were arrested by Israel. Reporter Khodr Shahine and his assistant, Mohammed Sarhan, were sentenced to two months in prison for publishing information about troop movements during the 2008-2009 invasion of Gaza that had been censored by the Israeli military.

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