Israel To Prosecute Journalist for Visiting Jordan
TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) _ The Justice Ministry said an Israeli journalist will be prosecuted for visiting an enemy Arab state.
Amnon Kapeliuk, a reporter for the Hebrew daily Yediot Ahronot and the French newspaper Le Monde Diplomatique, visited neighboring Jordan twice in the past six months on a French passport, a Justice Department spokesman said Thursday.
Kapeliuk holds dual Israeli-French citizenship.
The government will try Kapeliuk in a criminal court on charges that he violated emergency regulations which forbid Israeli nationals to visit Jordan, Syria or Iraq. Those countries are officially at war with Israel.
Police said formal charges probably will be filed early next week.
Interior Ministry spokesman Yitzhak Feinberg said Kapeliuk was being prosecuted because he visited Jordan in March without the ministry’s authorization. If convicted, Kapeliuk could be sentenced to a year in prison.
Kapeliuk received a warning letter from State Attorney General Yitzhak Zamir following a similar visit last November, but was not prosecuted then because his visit had been made known to senior defense officials, Feinberg said.
During that visit, Kapeliuk reported for Yediot on a special session of the Palestine National Council, the Palestine Liberation Organization’s parliament, at which guerrilla leader Yasser Arafat was confirmed as PLO chairman.
Kapeliuk, 48, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview that the decision to prosecute him was ″an attack on press freedom.″ He said it was the first time a journalist had been charged under the regulations.
Kapeliuk was not charged with the more serious offense of meeting with an enemy agent, even though he met Arafat in Amman. Zamir said the meeting did not compromise state security.