Canadian journalist arrested, possibly beaten

By Anna Mehler Paperny

Jesse Rosenfeld, a Canadian journalist reporting on the G20 for the Guardian newspaper, has been arrested and possibly beaten, his friends and father say.
His girlfriend, Carmelle Wolfson, called Mr. Rosenfeld late Saturday night, only to have him tell her he was in police custody at the Novotel, where dozens of protesters were arrested en masse after a protracted sit-in.
“He said, ‘The cops are telling me that they’re going to arrest me. I’ve told them that I’m a journalist, but they’re not recognizing my press badge and they’re telling me that they’re going to arrest me,’” she said.
“Then he told me to get on the phone with his editor.”
Mr. Rosenfeld, a Canadian activist journalist based in Tel Aviv and Jaffa in Israel, was in Canada for the summer and on assignment from Britain’s Guardian to cover the G20, Ms. Wolfson said. He was also helping to organize the summit’s alternative media co-op, whose coverage has been sympathetic to protests.
He hadn’t received official media accreditation, despite applying for it long ago and making repeated inquiries, Ms. Wolfson said. When he was swept up in the melee at the Novotel protest, police didn’t recognize his alternate media badge.
Steve Paikin, host of the Agenda on TVO, was at the Novotel at the time of the arrests. He later reported seeing Mr. Rosenfeld arrested and beaten — punched in the stomach by police.
“I can appreciate that the police were on edge today, after seeing four or five of their cruisers burned. But why such overreaction tonight?” he posted on his Twitter account.
Ms. Wolfson and Mr. Rosenfeld’s parents spent the rest of the night trying to find out what happened to him — including a visit to the Eastern Avenue film studio being used as a G20 detention centre. But they say they got no definitive information as to what Mr. Rosenfeld was charged with. He’s scheduled to appear in court Sunday morning, they said.
“It’s pretty disconcerting because I know there were reports that he was beaten and we can’t get any information about it to know if he’s ok,” Ms. Wolfson said.
“It’s been a long night,” Mr. Rosenfeld’s father, Mark Rosenfeld, said early Sunday morning. “He’s been totally incommunicado.”
“I think it’s pretty outrageous. … He was singled out because he didn’t have the proper media accreditation.”
Jesse Rosenfeld’s writing from Canada and the Middle East has been explicitly political in the past. Mark Rosenfeld said he doesn’t know if his son has been in trouble with police in the past.
“He certainly hasn’t been arrested for violence or anything like that.”
A spokesman for the Integrated Security Unit said early Sunday morning he couldn’t confirm details surrounding specific arrests.

The original article appeared in the Globe and Mail

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