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UN 'concerned' over fate of TNA reporter Diaa al-Kahlout

UN 'concerned' over TNA reporter Diaa al-Kahlout detained in Gaza by Israel
3 min read
13 December, 2023
The UN said that it was "very concerned" about the fate of Diaa al-Kahlout, who Israeli forces detained nearly a week prior.
Israeli forces have not responded to the UN's request for information on Diaa al-Kahlout's whereabouts. [TNA]

The spokesperson for the Secretary General of the United Nations on Tuesday expressed concern about the fate of The New Arab reporter Diaa al-Kahlout, who was detained by Israel on 7 December.

Al-Kahlout, the Gaza bureau chief of TNA's Arabic Language Service Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, was taken from his home in Beit Lahia in the north of Gaza strip and beaten by Israeli soldiers.

He later appeared in a video, stripped of his clothes with bound hands, along with other men who Israel accused of being part of Hamas.

He has not been heard from since, despite the best efforts of The New Arab to locate his whereabouts.

"We are very concerned about the fate of Diaa Kahlout, your colleague, and we know that our colleagues at the [UN] Human Rights Office are also following this," Stephane Dujarric, the spokesperson for the UN Secretary General, told Al-Araby al-Jadeed senior correspondent to the UN in New York Ibtisam Azem.

Israeli forces also burned down al-Kahlout's house and the houses of his two brothers, following his arrest. The house that the family later took refuge in was then bombed, killing al-Kahlout's father in law, as well as injuring his wife and son.

Despite the international outcry over al-Kahlout's case, rights bodies have been unable to get any new information from Israel.

"It has been difficult for them to obtain information from the Israeli authorities on the matter. We do know that they detained a large number of male Palestinians, including your colleague. It's very important for us that his whereabouts be clarified by the Israeli authority," Dujjaric added.

The International Committee of the Red Cross has been prevented by Israel from conducting any visits to Palestinian detainees since 7 October, the ICRC told Al-Araby al-Jadeed.

The ICRC is usually tasked with monitoring the conditions of political detainees and prisoners of war, including in countries such as Syria.

The UN Spokesperson also said that he was not aware of any UN bodies having been allowed to visit detainees in Israeli prisons since 7 October.

Palestinian detainees released by Israel as part of the hostage swap during the week-long truce between Israel and Hamas described punishing conditions, including beatings from Israeli prison guards.

"Detainees, wherever and by whomever they may be, need to be treated with humanity and dignity at all times. The Red Cross stands prepared to resume its regular detention visits," the ICRC media office told Al Araby al-Jadeed.

Al-Kahlout's arrest prompted alarm from rights groups, including Reporters Without Borders (RSF), which called on Israel to immediately release the reporter.

At least 63 journalists have been killed since Israel's military operation on Gaza began, with 56 Palestinian, 4 Israeli and 3 Lebanese journalists killed, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

The month following 7 October was the deadliest for journalists in the three decades since the CPJ began collecting data in 1992.