Media group urges Syria to drop journalists' case

The Committee to Protect Journalists said Bassam Ali and Suhaila Ismail investigated misuse of funds at the Public Company for Fertilisers in Syria.

Media group urges Syria to drop journalists' case

A press freedom group urged Syria to drop criminal defamation charges against two journalists it said could face three years in jail over their reports into alleged corruption at a state fertilizer company.

The Committee to Protect Journalists said Bassam Ali and Suhaila Ismail investigated misuse of funds at the Public Company for Fertilisers in Syria.

The group said that after their reports were published in 2005 and 2006, the minister of industry fired the company director, who then filed a lawsuit against the journalists for defamation and "resisting the socialist system".

On Wednesday an appeal court in Homs, 100 miles (160 km) north of Damascus, transferred the case to a military court. Under the charge of "resisting the socialist system", they could face between one and three years in prison.

"We call on the authorities to drop all charges against them, considering that the government itself saw fit to dismiss the head of the company as a result of these articles," said CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney.

On Sunday, a military court jailed a 79-year-old lawyer who campaigned for decades to end Syria's emergency laws, in place since the Baath Party took power in 1963.

Reuters

Güncelleme Tarihi: 11 Temmuz 2010, 16:38

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