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Israel police hinder work of Haaretz correspondent, detain him

Israeli journalist Gidi Weitz [@AnshelPfeffer/Twitter]
Israeli journalist Gidi Weitz [@AnshelPfeffer/Twitter]

Israeli police on Monday forcefully prevented Israeli journalist Gidi Weitz, correspondent of leading Israeli newspaper Haaretz, from carrying out his job, arresting and detaining him, the paper reported.

Police officers arrested Weitz as he tried to interview them, falsely claiming that he interfered with a police officer in the performance of his duty, Haaretz said.

"The officers placed handcuffs and leg cuffs on Weitz and brought him into Lev Tel Aviv Police Station, even after he told them repeatedly that he was a journalist."

Weitz approached the officers after watching them question a Palestinian construction worker in Tel Aviv, he asked why the man had been stopped. One of the police officers yelled at him, Haaretz said, and asked him to leave the area and "contact the spokesperson's office."

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They then arrested him and confiscated his phone.

Weitz was searched by the police officers, Haaretz said, then the commander of the police station released him.

The police claimed that the officers ordered Weitz to leave the area where they questioned the Palestinian worker, but he refused, Haaretz said.

On Twitter, the Jerusalem Press Club denounced the incident. "We strongly condemn the arrest of @Haaretz journalist, Gidi Weitz," a tweet read, noting that "he was arrested following a false claim by policemen, after introducing himself as a press-member."

The Jerusalem Press Club stated that "this insufferable ease in which the [Israeli] police arrest anyone who simply asks a few questions should make us all worry."

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