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Monday, March 13, 2006

Is al-Asadi actually facing death charges?

Is Yemen Editor-in-Chief al-Asadi actually facing the death penalty for printing thumb nails of the cartoons?

by Poul Højlund, March 13, 2006

I haven’t been able to track the facts in this story: Yemen Observer on the one side, claiming that a death penalty is wanted; NYT and more on the other side, stating that a maximum of one year imprisonment is at stake.

Click Continue ..


If you have further information, verified and accurate, it would be much appreciated. A year in prison is bad, but is nowhere compatible to the death sentence.


As I do not want to engage the public on less than firm grounds, I would really appreciate some more information in this matter.

So is al-Asadi actually facing a possible death sentence? The question follows after Danish daily Politiken on March 9, 21.10 quotes Reporters Sans Frontieres responsible for Mid East, Lynn Tehini: “We’ve spoken with our representative in Sanaa, and he informs that it’s not true, that the public prosecutor claimed a death penalty, as some media have reported.”

Politiken earlier the same day web’ed an article based on the Yemen Observer [without ever crediting the paper and pretending that Politiken actually interviewed al-Asadi] with the headline: ‘Editor risks death penalty for prophet drawings’.

Yemen Observer on March 8 has this report, quoted next day at PIA CAUSA, and obviously the source for Politiken:

"Mar 8, 2006 -

SANA’A – Up to 21 prosecution lawyers called for the death penalty for Mohammed Al-Asadi, the Editor-in-Chief of the Yemen Observer, and the permanent closure of the newspaper, during Al-Asadi’s trial on Wednesday.

The lawyers, commissioned by Sheik Abdul-Majid Zindani, the Chairman of Islah Shura Council and led by Mohammed Al-Shawish, also called for the confiscation of all the newspaper’s property and assets, and for financial compensation to be paid to be the Muslim’s ‘Finance House’, which last existed during the time of the Caliphs, 1200 years ago. "

This blog later documented (tip: American Daughter) that the chief prosecutor, Sheik Zindani, appears on US and UN lists of terrorists for funding al Qaeda. Sheik al-Zindani is the leader of the Islah party, but is by some thought to be quite a problem to the party.

al-Zindani is wanted by US government, according to this
to this report in Yemen Times on Februar 25, quoting al-Jazeera.

NYT on March 9 has this on the death charges against al-Asadi:

(…)
“The lawyers also reminded the court of a story from the days of the prophet in which a woman was executed for insulting him, and he praised her killer, a citation The Observer took as a threat to demand that the editor be sentenced to death. He currently faces a year in jail or a fine.

Mr. Assadi, who once worked as a part-time correspondent for The New York Times, is one of three Yemeni journalists facing criminal charges for republishing the cartoons. The other two are Abdulkarim Sabra, the managing editor of the weekly Al Hurriya, and Yehiya al-Abed, a reporter for that paper. The men were jailed for two weeks last month, before being released on bail. The three stand accused of insulting their faith by publishing the images, a crime approaching heresy. In each case, the editors' stated intention was to condemn the drawings. In the case of The Observer, the images were obscured by a black X.

Lawyers for Mr. Assadi accused the 23 of taking part in a campaign organized by Yemen's main Islamist party, led by Sheik Abdul-Majid al-Zindani. The party has collected about $25,000 to pay for legal action against the journalists.

The court adjourned until March 22, and the judge called on the 23 lawyers to register their suit with the prosecution. Eight other journalists in five countries are facing prosecution for reprinting the cartoons.”

So what to believe: a maximum of one year imprisonment or death?

Please help me sort out this confusion; has the Yemen Observer exagerated in support of their editor-in-chief, and thereby mislead this blog and a lot others?

52 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Zindani is not the cheif prosecutor but he raised money and apparently hired some additonal lawyers. The article says the lawyers called for the death penalty, but it may not be formally introduced as a possible punishment. Ill let you know if I find anything else out.

Jane
www.armiesofliberation.com

15 March, 2006 21:02  
Blogger ph said...

Jane, Thank You!

I'm not at all into Yemani politics as you can clearly see.

I cannot figure out if I should worry for the editor of a paper owned by the press secretary of the president when he is facing charges brought against him by the leader of the party opposed to the president.

But if you find something, I'll blog it here and get it on Freedom Zone, - I don't want to waste people's attention and good will unless it really matters.

Thanks again.

15 March, 2006 21:50  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi
Agora is posing an interview with al-Asadi that confirms the death penalty is a real legal penalty. From what I know of Yemen, he faces as much threat from extremists who have been whipped into a frenzy by some of the countries more radical religious leaders.

regards
Jane
http://armiesofliberation.com

http://agora.blogsome.com/2006/03/17/al-asadi-its-not-my-prophet-in-those-cartoons/

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