Libel suit withdrawn against website editor but journalist still subject to jail sentence

first_img Help by sharing this information RSF joins Middle East and North Africa coalition to combat digital surveillance News Organisation Reporters Without Borders hails yesterday’s decision by Dr. Yasser Al Nuaimi, a senior health ministry official in the emirate of Ras al-Khaimah, to withdraw the libel suit he brought in November 2006 against Muhammad Rashed Shehhi, the owner of the Majan.net news website, over a comment posted on the site“The prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashed al Maktoum, declared in September that a new law of the press should be adopted,” Reporters Without Borders said. “We hail this move and we call on the legislature to expand this provision to include website editors.”A Ras al-Khaimah appeal court has meanwhile postponed a ruling in the case of Khaled Alasley, a Majan.net journalist said to have written the article that was the subject of Dr. Nuaimi’s libel suit. Alasley was sentenced to five months in prison on 12 September. December 23, 2020 Find out more United Arab EmiratesMiddle East – North Africa 14.09 : Two cyber-dissidents sentenced to five months in prison June 8, 2021 Find out more News Reporters Without Borders condemns the decision to keep Majan.net editor Muhammad Rashed Shehhi in detention pending the outcome of his appeal hearing, which has been adjourned until 9 September. The Ras al-Khaimah appeal court was prepared to free Shehhi but the prosecutor opposed his release.“We call on the prosecutor to reach an agreement with the court on freeing Shehhi,” the press freedom organisation said, noting that a criminal court released Khaled Alasley, a Majan.net writer, on 23 August. The alleged author of the article that led to both of them being arrested, Alasley is to appear in court on 30 August on a charge of defamation. Reporters Without Borders today called on the criminal court of the Emirate of Ras al-Khaimah to quash website editor Muhammad Rashed Shehhi’s one-year prison sentence when his appeal is heard on 26 August. The sentenced was imposed on 8 August over an allegedly libellous comment posted anonymously on the site he edits, Majan.Shehhi is currently being held in Mamoura but is due to be transferred to the central prison. A member of the site’s editorial staff, Khaled Alasley, was arrested on 19 August and interrogated by members of the security services, who have refused to release him on bail.“It is shocking that Shehhi was given a prison sentence for a comment posted on the Internet which he did not write,” the press freedom organisation said. “We call on the court to show clemency by overturning his sentence and by releasing his colleague.”Shehhi was tried as a result a complaint by a government official, who considered the offending comment to be “defamatory” and “insulting.” The court also fined him 15,000 euros and the site has been closed down.The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (HRinfo) said the comment was no more than a “political criticism” of an official, and called on the court to reverse its “unjust” decision.Ras al-Khaimah is the northernmost of the United Arab Emirates. Follow the news on United Arab Emirates April 28, 2021 Find out more ——————————————————– Reporters Without Borders condemns the five-month prison sentences imposed on 12 September on Muhammad Rashed Shehhi, the owner of the Majan.net website, and Khaled Alasley, a journalist who writes for the site. They were convicted of libelling a doctor, Yasser Al Nuaimi, who sued them over a comment published in November 2006.“Despite the lack of hard evidence, the authorities chose the harshest option – imprisonment,” the press freedom organisation said. “We condemn this decision and we call for the immediate release of Shehhi and Alasley.”Shehhi was convicted as the website’s owner, while Alasley was convicted as the author of the offending comment, although no evidence was produced to show that he wrote it.Many articles posted on the site referred to a controversy started by the local newspaper Al Khaleej about cases in which the emirate’s medical services allegedly kept in store advance medical equipment.According to the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (HRinfo), these articles resulted in several libel suits being brought against Shehhi by leading members of the medical community. News ———————————————————— to go further Receive email alerts News October 30, 2007 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Libel suit withdrawn against website editor but journalist still subject to jail sentence United Arab EmiratesMiddle East – North Africa RSF joins other NGOs in amicus brief in WhatsApp suit against NSO Group ———————————————————- RSF_en NSO Group hasn’t kept its promises on human rights, RSF and other NGOs say 24.08.07 : Appeal to be heard this weekend in case of website editor sentenced to a year in prison 27.08.07 : Imprisoned website editor’s appeal hearing adjournedlast_img read more