Friday, May 28, 2004

 

Peter Hounam update

Peter Hounam was released from Israeli custody yesterday, after he was held in a "dungeon with excrement on the walls." Now, a few days ago, Danny Seaman, director of Israel's Government Press Office told the media: "I assume they did not arrest him as a journalist but because they have real reasons." So let's review the case against Hounam:
According to Shin Bet, Hounam paid an Israeli woman, Yael Lotan, £1,000 to interview Mr [Mordechai] Vanunu on his behalf. Hounam, with the help of BBC employees, edited and duplicated the tapes.
So Hounam (allegedly) paid for an interview, and edited and duplicated the tapes. Despite all of Seaman's assurances, these sure appear to be the activities of a journalist.
Yesterday Hounam's wife, Hilarie, said from the couple's home in Aberfeldy, Perthshire, that he was "overjoyed" to be released. She said she believed the arrest sprang from the Israeli authorities' continuing campaign against Mr Vanunu. "They know he has no more secrets," she said. "It's vengeance, isn't it?"
Vengeance, paranoia, and a growing culture within the Israeli government and military of intolerance for the media (especially foreign media). As stated by the Foreign Press Association, the arrest of journalists is "a most dangerous threat to any democracy."

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