Foreign Press Group Protests Israeli Questioning of German Photographer

The Foreign Press Association has lodged a strong protest over the police questioning of West German freelance photographer Andre Brutman, who shot photos of a meeting of Israeli leftists with representatives of the Palestine Liberation Organization in Budapest last month on assignment for Time magazine.

Brutman holds temporary residence status in Israel, which allows him to work here. On his return from Hungary, police demanded that he hand over his film for “evidence” in legal proceedings. A newly passed law forbids Israelis from meeting with PLO representatives.

Brutman produced a document proving his film was air-freighted from Budapest to New York. He was nevertheless ordered to report to the police Thursday for questioning.

The Foreign Press Association called the police action a “flagrant violation of freedom of the press and an unwarranted attempt to compel a journalist to participate in a police investigation.” Such practices “cannot be condoned in a democratic society such as Israel,” the statement said.

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