Israeli Judge Calls for Full Hearing in Maan-Malsin Deportation Case
UPDATE: Judge Vardi has just ruled against the Israeli attorney general who argued that Jared Malsin should be immediately deported as a security risk. The judge found that there might be grounds to overrule the Ministry of the Interior’s decision to deport him based on its claim that the reporter “failed to cooperate.” One hopes the judge will also find reason to insist that the defendant also be present for the hearing.
Israeli judge Kobi Vardi, who is hearing the case filed by Palestinian news agency Maan, seeking to prevent the Israeli government from deporting American-Jewish editor Jared Malsin, asked for the defense to reply to the government’s filing. Malsin is in his sixth day of detention at Ben Gurion Airport in a windowless room with nothing except a small suitcase. Israel refuses to move him to a proper facility within Israel in order not to upgrade his legal status in the eyes of the court.
The attorney general filed papers defending the deportation order with the judge, who could have immediately ruled in the government’s favor. Instead, he asked for the defense to reply, which allows Malsin’s team to fight on another day. The judge could ask for a full hearing and demand that the government produce Malsin as a witness in his own defense; or he could deport him. If he does, Malsin has recourse to the Israeli Supreme Court, though he would continue to be detained till his case could be heard.
The claims against Malsin by the government, which I’ve outlined earlier, are a smokescreen. They clearly want to punish English language media reporting that contravenes the government line. They want to criminalize Palestinian media sources and muzzle them in any way they can.
Governments have great discretion when it comes to immigration issues. They may admit or exclude anyone for pretty much any reason or none. But one would hope that even a government as tone-deaf to civil liberties as this one might realize that deporting a reporter merely because his work has been a thorn in the side of the government doesn’t look good for the self-described Only Democracy in the Middle East™.
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Malsin is doing the world a favor by standing up to these tyrants. Whether some people like it or not, he is an American Jew going to the mat for press freedom for the Palestinian people. I pray for his success.