Yemen

Motoon II: The Saga Continues

The Comics Reporter (via) has a lengthy and depressing update of the state of the second run of the Muhammed Cartoons conroversy.

In Egypt

  • Four international newspapers were banned by government officials for recent republication of the images. Two of the papers have never printed the cartoon
  • The Danish Ambassador to Cairo was summoned by the Egyptian government to listen to another rant
  • Thousands of students protested
  • And two football matches have been cancelled.

Elsewhere

  • Yemen has suspended friendship with Denmark’s parliament
  • In Jordan, the lower house of Parliament fails to recognise that freedom is a value

Yemen editor jailed over cartoons

Muhammed The BBC (via) reports that a court in Yemen has sentenced newspaper editor, Kamal al-Aalafi to a year in jail for reprinting the cartoons at the heart of the The Muhammed Cartoons Controversy. The court also ordered the independent weekly newspaper which carried the cartoons to be closed for six months.

Mr al-Aalafi, who has been released on bail and will appeal the sentence, said he had reprinted the cartoons to raise awareness, not to insult Muslims.

The editors of two other Yemeni publications face similar charges.

Yemen editor faces execution

Yemeni newspaper editor, Muhammad al-Asadi, was arrested in February after his publication, the Yemen Observer, published the pictures at the centre of the Muhammed Cartoons Controversy.

He is being charged with offending Islam - which he denies - and prosecuting lawyers are calling for him to be sentenced to death.

The English-language newspaper has had its licence to publish suspended, although its staff have continued to produce material online.

Lawyers leading a civil case against publishers of the cartoons - in addition to the public case - cited precedents from Muslim history when the prophet was insulted by a woman and then praised her killer.

Prosecutors have reportedly requested that the Yemen Observer be closed permanently and have its property and assets confiscated.

The trial reopens tomorrow.

Journalists jailed for Muhammed

Muhammed cartoon Reporters Without Borders has launched an appeal and a petition for the immediate release of six journalists thrown into prison in Yemen and Algeria for reprinting the pictures at the centre of the Muhammed cartoons controversy as part of informing their readers.

“Whatever one thinks of the cartoons or whether they should be published, it is absolutely unjustified to jail or prosecute journalists, threaten them with death or shut down newspapers for this reason,” the worldwide press freedom organisation said.

At least 11 journalists are being prosecuted in five countries and six have been imprisoned. Some face long prison sentences if convicted.

Two editors in Jordan have been charged with provocation and encouraging disorder. Four journalists have been jailed in Yemen and charged under article 103 of the press law, which bans publication of anything that “harms Islam, denigrates monotheistic religion or a humanitarian belief.” Reporters Without Borders calls for all criminal cases among these to be dropped.

In total, thirteen publications have been temporarily or permanently closed in Algeria, Morocco, Jordan, Yemen, Malaysia and Indonesia for reprinting the cartoons.

A conference to discuss the cartoons crisis on 9 February in Paris stressed that nothing could justify the imprisonment of journalists. More than a dozen journalists, intellectuals and religious officials from Western and Arab/Muslim countries attended the meeting, organised by Reporters Without Borders and the Arab Commission for Human Rights, and appealed for calm and dialogue. A similar conference will be held in Cairo on 25 February.

All of the journalists in question have been jailed for simply doing their job and passing on news that made headlines around the world.