Israel security ask reporter to remove bra

Jan. 12, 2011 at 8:10 AM
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JERUSALEM, Jan. 12 (UPI) -- Protesting a security demand that an al-Jazeera producer remove her bra, fellow colleagues bowed out of a meeting with Israel's prime minister, officials said.

Israeli security personnel screening those attending the annual foreign correspondents event in Jerusalem Tuesday, asked al-Jazeera producer Simri Diab, 31, to remove her bra. She refused and was not permitted to enter the hall where Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was due to speak, said Wednesday.

Diab told Ynetnews three reporters from the station planned to attend the event. She said she was forced to wait for a long period in the queue and then singled out with other Arab reporters. One of the security guards allowed her to sit down because of she is pregnant. She later agreed to a body search in a holding room downstairs, she said.

"They later took me downstairs to the security check cell. They asked me to take off my coat and then my vest. I did. Then they asked me to take off my shirt. I took a deep breath and did it. I was left with just my undershirt and trousers, without my shoes and the rest of my equipment. The female officer felt me with her hands for 15 minutes in any place possible. I told her I was pregnant and asked her not to use the manual device, but compromised on that later too." When later asked to remove her bra, she said she refused and was told she would not be permitted to attend.

Diab later lodged a complaint with Oren Helman, director of Israel's Government Press Office who organized the event.

Helman said while he regretted the incident, it was the responsibility of Israel's Security Agency, Shin Bet.

A number of female reporters from other countries including Turkey, protested what they described as the humiliating security demands, but attended the meeting, said.

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