After Week in Detention, Maan Editor Opts to Return to U.S.

The English editor for the Palestinian news agency Maan returned to the United States yesterday, after spending a week in a detention cell at Ben-Gurion International Airport.

American journalist Jared Malsin had been detained with his girlfriend after returning from a holiday abroad last Tuesday.

Malsin was questioned, and the interrogator recommended not allowing him into Israel, commenting on his "critical reporting" on events in the territories.

The interrogator also noted, "We believe he used his Jewishness to secure a visa."

Malsin's girlfriend, a Lutheran church volunteer, was deported to Prague last week.

The Interior Ministry claimed Malsin refused to cooperate with his interrogators, even though he knew he could be deported as a result.

The day after his arrest, Malsin and Maan appealed against the deportation, and Tel Aviv District Court Judge Miriam Sokolov canceled the deportation order.

But since he was not allowed into Israel, Malsin remained in the detention cell. His belongings were confiscated.

His attorney, Castro Daoud, told Haaretz yesterday that no date had been set for hearing the appeal.

"The detention center is basically prison conditions," said Daoud. "He was supposed to stay there until his trial, and so he decided to return to the United States."

However, Malsin's deputy at Maan said the journalist didn't have much of a choice. "This was the only option they gave him. He wanted to go home to Bethlehem, but the state wouldn't allow it."

The agency claims Malsin was detained over the leftist views he voiced in his reporting.

The Interior Ministry said in a statement, "Mr. Malsin chose not to await his hearing and flew back this morning."