Yemen to prosecute newspaper editors for publishing Muhammad cartoons

[JURIST] The government of Yemen [official website] has announced it will prosecute the editors of three privately owned Yemeni newspapers, the Yemen Observer [media website in English], al-Ra'i el-Am and al-Huriya, for offending Islam after the newspapers reprinted caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad [JURIST news archive] that have prompted worldwide Muslim protests. The newspapers' licenses have also been suspended [Article 19 protest letter, PDF]. The Yemen Observer reports in its Internet edition - not yet explicitly prohibited - that its editor, Mohammed al-Asadi, has been detained indefinitely and denied bail. Last week, the editors of Jordan's Shihan and al-Mehwar newspapers were arrested and charged [BBC report] with similar offenses in Jordan after reprinting the cartoons. NCTV has more. A Malaysian English-language paper was shut down [JURIST report] Thursday over re-publication, and the editor of an Indonesian tabloid has also been taken into custody. AP has more.

Meanwhile, protests over the publications have continued around the world, including a Saturday gathering in Philadelphia of several hundred Muslims outside the offices of the Philadelphia Inquirer [local coverage], one of the few American news outlets that chose to publish one of the controversial drawings. Inquirer editors have explained [editorial] that their intention was "to inform our readers, not to inflame them," and met with protesters outside the building. Reuters has more. A peaceful demonstration of about 5000, aimed at setting out the views of moderate Muslims, was also held in London [BBC report] on Saturday.

2:17 PM ET - Late reports say that the managing editors of two Algerian weeklies have also been jailed for republishing the Prophet cartoons and will face trial. Berkane Bouderbala of the weekly Essafir [media website in Arabic] and Kamel Boussad of the Panorama weekly are being held under a provision of the Algerian penal code which states "any person who offends the prophet and the emissaries of god or denigrates the dogma or precepts of Islam" faces three to five years in prison. AFP has more. From Algeria, L'Expression has local coverage [in French].



 

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