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PA foreign minister defends arrest of journalist
Published Thursday 29/03/2012 (updated) 31/03/2012 14:08
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Ma`an`s Nasser Laham speaks with Palestinian Authority foreign minister
Riyad al-Malki about the arrest of journalist Yousef al-Shayeb, on the sidelines
of an Arab summit in Baghdad on Thursday, March 29, 2012. (MaanImages)
BAGHDAD (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Authority foreign minister on Thursday defended his role in the arrest of a journalist who the government is accusing of defamation and libel over a January newspaper story.

Riyad al-Malki told reporters on the sidelines of an Arab summit in Iraq that the arrest of Yousef al-Shayeb was justified, and suggested he and the government were victims.

"I'm surprised some journalists reacted emotionally on behalf of their colleague without hearing the other side's case, or considering for a moment if Yousef al-Shayeb is the oppressor or the oppressed," he said.

The minister is a central character in the report al-Shayeb filed for Jordan's al-Ghad newspaper in late January. It suggests al-Malki illegally promoted a diplomat, Safwat Ibraghit, to the post of deputy ambassador to Paris despite having knowledge of Ibraghit's ties to foreign intelligence agencies.

The minister maintains that the journalist knew before filing his report that it contained falsehoods. He says he expected al-Shayeb to apologize but the journalist has instead defended his work.

Al-Malki, visibly angry on Thursday, added that journalists should "expel al-Shayeb from their ranks. He has harmed the Palestinian media and published (false) reports. He should have been more professional."

The minister said the general prosecutor has been asked to investigate the charges contained in the report. If they are accurate, the parties will be prosecuted and if not, the journalist will be charged. So far only the journalist, and not any diplomats, have been held for questioning.

He said al-Shayeb should be held responsible for what he publishes and not "play the victim."

"The truth will come out at the end," he added.

Journalists and human rights groups, meanwhile, have denounced the arrest.

The Palestinian center for development and media freedoms, known as Mada, demanded al-Shayeb's release and called for an end to "the policy of arrest and detention of journalists" in Palestine.

"Shayeb was simply doing his job as a journalist," the group said.

It also pointed out that under Palestinian law, journalists have no obligation to reveal their sources except in unusually urgent circumstances, such as a national security matter, and following a court order.
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1 ) Dick Reilly / USA
30/03/2012 07:36
This is tragic. Those of us who knew Riyad personally decades ago when he was a graduate student in the US and a well known Palestinian progressive activist voice here can only marvel at how debased his politics have become. A case study in betrayal.

2 ) Nour / One-State
30/03/2012 07:51
Malki and all other PA puppets have an extreme case of freedom of speech allergy. The journalist acted in his rights. It is Malki who should be arrested for the false theatrics back in September and explain why they have abandoned their UN quest and in exchange for what!

3 ) Nour / Swezerland
30/03/2012 17:12
Hallo, Is there sombody to explain for this gay that hi is not polis, charge or prosecutor. By the way the general prosecutro does what the politicians say to do....

4 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
30/03/2012 17:47
If there is no freedom of the press now in the PA, how will there ever be freedom of the press or freedom of speech or freedom of expression in a country called Palestine? Free Yousef al-Shayeb now!

5 ) Defend & / Condemn
30/03/2012 17:48
The Palestinian Authority defends it's role in the arrest of a journalist
who the government is accusing of defamation and libel, and
The Palestinian Authority Condemns Israel's role in arresting terrorists
who plot to murder civilians !!

6 ) Mahmoud / Palestine
31/03/2012 00:14
Journalists take it too far sometimes. Nour, the UN bid was not abandoned, and nothing was given in exchange!! Get your facts right.

7 ) southparkbear / usa
31/03/2012 12:21
i am staying out of this, it's internal unsubstentiated rumor about the greatest democratic peace loving society
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