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How CPJ investigates and classifies attacks on the press

JUNE 21, 2003

Mansour al-Jamri, Al-Wasat
Hussein Khalaf, Al-Wasat

Al-Jamri and Khalaf, editor and reporter, respectively, at the independent Bahraini daily Al-Wasat, were prosecuted for an article by Khalaf published on March 26 reporting that three men who had been arrested in February and accused of being members of a terrorist cell had been released from custody.

Al-Jamri told CPJ that after the alleged terrorists were arrested in February, the prosecutor general ordered the newspaper not to publish anything relating to the proceedings. Al-Jamri said that the paper complied with the order until news of the men's release was published in other news outlets, such as Agence France-Presse, Deutsche Presse-Agentur, and the London-based, pan-Arab daily Al-Sharq al-Awsat.

Within days of the article being published in Al-Wasat, the prosecutor general charged al-Jamri and Khalaf, in accordance with the 2002 Press Law, with violating a gag order.

The paper's lawyer said that, if convicted, the journalists face up to six months in prison and a 1,000 dinar (US$2,650) fine.