Shireen Abu Akleh and Ghufran Hamed Warasneh

Scottish PEN Statement on the Killing of Two Palestinian Journalists

Scottish PEN condemns the killings of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and Ghufran Hamed Warasneh, identified by the National Press Club as a journalism graduate working for Dream, a local news agency.

August 4, 2022

Scottish PEN condemns the killings of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and Ghufran Hamed Warasneh, identified by the National Press Club as a journalism graduate working for Dream, a local news agency.[1]

Shireen Abu Akleh was shot dead on May 11th 2022. A 51-year-old Palestinian-American and veteran TV correspondent, Abu Akleh was shot in the head while on assignment in Jenin in the occupied West Bank. CNN has reported that Abu Akleh was wearing a protective blue vest that identified her as a member of the news media, and that eye witnesses have stated that they believe she was deliberately fired upon by Israeli forces in a targeted attack.[2] ?

Subsequently, footage of Shireen Abu Akleh’s funeral showed Israeli police beating mourners with batons as they struggled to carry her coffin, and the coffin being rocked back and forth and then falling.[3]

Further controversy arises from a recent US examination of the bullet that killed Abu Akleh. No conclusive responsibility is given to the Israeli Defence Forces and her murder is not considered intentional. This contradicts eyewitness accounts and investigations conducted by the New York Times.[4]

According to reports, only weeks after Abu Akleh’s killing, on 1st June, 2022, Ghufran Hamed Warasneh, a 31-year-old Palestinian commuting to work for Radio Dream, was shot in the chest while being questioned by Israeli Defense Forces at a checkpoint near the al-Arroub refugee camp.[5]

Scottish PEN deplores the killing of both of these female journalists, and joins Reporters Without Borders and the National Press Club in calling for a fair and full investigation into the circumstances of their deaths. Scottish PEN stands in solidarity with all journalists and writers working in Palestine as they attempt to report on the conflict there and share the truth of their experiences with the wider world.


[1] National Press Club press release, 2 June, 2022

[2] New evidence suggests Shireen Abu Akleh was killed in targeted attack by Israeli forces, CNN, 26 May, 2022

[3] Coffin carrying veteran journalist’s body shown falling as Israeli police beat mourners with batons, CNN Business, 13 May, 2022

[4] Bullet Too Damaged to Prove Who Killed Palestinian American Journalist, U.S. Says, 4 July, 2022

[5] National Press Club, ibid.

TAGS: Writers at Risk