Ibrahim Hemaidi

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Hemaidi, the Damascus bureau chief for the influential London-based Pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat, was detained by Syrian police in connection with a December 20 article he wrote discussing the Syrian government’s alleged preparations for a possible influx of Iraqi refugees in the event of a U.S.-led attack on Iraq. The Syrian government denied the report, and Al-Hayat published a statement from the authorities to that effect on December 24.

On December 27, the official Syrian news agency, SANA, acknowledged Hemaidi’s detention and said that he is accused of “publishing false information,” which carries a penalty of up to three years in prison and a fine of up to 1 million Syrian pounds (US$19,500).