Tripoli, 1 April 2013:
Reporters Without Borders (RWB) has added . . .[restrict]its voice to calls for the release of newspaper editor Amara Hassan Al-Khatabi, who has been in prison for over three months.
Khatabi is accused of defamation of members of the judiciary, after printing a list of 84 judges allegedly involved in corruption, in the privately-owned Ummah (Nation) newspaper.
The 67 year-old has been detained in a military prison since 19 December, following the publication of the list on 21 November. RWB, which promotes freedom of information and freedom of the press, says Khatabi has been denied access to his lawyer.
His trial started in February but has repeatedly been postponed.
The France-based NGO pointed out that the GNC should comply with its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which Libya ratified in 1970.
RWB said that there also are concerns about Khatabi’s health in prison, as he suffers from a number of conditions, including diabetes.
The Libyan Human Rights Observatory and Amnesty International have also called on the GNC to release Khatabi. Last month, Justice Minister Salah Marghani said he had asked the Attorney General to release Khatabi on bail, although this has not yet happened.
RWB expressed concern about the growing dangers to which Libyan journalists are exposed. It pointed out that the role of journalists is fundamental in the fight against corruption. It also urged the GNC to quickly adopt legislation that protects freedom of information. [/restrict]