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Statement by the Foreign Press Association regarding police violence towards photographer working for Agence France-Presse [January 26, 2022]

On the afternoon of Tuesday, January 25th, 2022, Agence France-Presse (AFP) photographer Ahmad Gharabli was hit by a hard rubber bullet fired by Israeli police in A-Tur neighborhood, East Jerusalem.

Ahmad was covering a small demonstration by local residents as Israeli forces started to demolish the house of a local Palestinian family. Ahmad was clearly distant from the protesters and the police and was easily recognizable with his camera.

As video from the scene illustrates, Ahmad was doing nothing to interfere in the work of police when he was shot in the upper chest, a few centimeters from his face. He suffered severe bruising and spent hours at a hospital on Tuesday. He underwent further medical examinations on Wednesday.

In 2021, Ahmad – one of the best-known and most experienced photographers working in Jerusalem – was beaten with stick by a police officer in the Old City in Jerusalem despite being far from protesters.

Tuesday’s incident is the latest in a string of unprovoked attacks in recent years by border police on journalists working for international media, after Associated Press photographer Mahmoud Illean was brutally attacked by Israeli border police last month in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. Following that incident, police pledged to the FPA to launch an investigation.

Unfortunately, in what has become a pattern, there has been no communication from the police or any evidence of any investigation since then. The Foreign Press Association strongly condemns Tuesday’s incident, which raises serious questions about the discipline and professionalism of the officers. We urge the Ministry of Public Security, the national police and the border police to conduct a serious investigation and take appropriate disciplinary action against the officer involved.

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