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Still paying the pricefor printing those cartoons

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By Michelle Malkin  •  November 26, 2006 09:57 AM

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Kamal al-Olufi: Sentenced and censored (Source: Yemen Observer)

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Muhammad al-Asadi: Awaiting a verdict

An editor received his punishment for “insulting Islam” in Yemen this weekend–one year in jail and a six-month newspaper shutdown (via BBC):

A court in Yemen has sentenced a newspaper editor to a year in jail for reprinting Danish cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad.

The court also ordered the independent weekly newspaper which carried the cartoons to be closed for six months.

The editor, Kamal al-Aalafi, said he had reprinted the cartoons to raise awareness, not to insult Muslims.

The cartoons sparked violent protests around the world after Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published them in 2005.

Mr al-Aalafi has been released on bail and will appeal the sentence.

The editors of two other Yemeni publications face similar charges.

My friend Andy Bostom e-mails: “Well, I guess not beheading him for ‘blasphemy’ is considered ‘progress.’”

The avengers aren’t done yet, though. One of the other editors still on trial in Yemen is a journalist I’ve been privileged to correspond with since February–Muhammad al-Asadi, editor-in-chief of the Yemen Observer. He faced death calls despite the absurdity of the charges against him. As I noted at the time:

[Asadi's] paper published thumbnail copies of some of the cartoons in its Feb. 4 edition, but covered them with a thick black cross to show its disapproval. In two accompanying articles, the paper condemned the cartoons and provided negative reactions from Muslims worldwide. Despite the context, the Cartoon Jihadists want al-Asadi dead because the thumbnail of one of the cartoons–only 1.5cm [0.6 of an inch] by 2cm [0.8 of an inch], he notes–appeared on the front page.

The justification for wanting to execute al-Asadi? It’s what the Prophet Mohammed would have wanted, they say:

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.

They recounted a story in which a lady was killed during the Prophet’s lifetime after she insulted him, and that the Prophet then praised the killer. They said that they wanted the same punishment to be applied on “those who abuse the Prophet” (PBUH).

Here’s a good interview with al-Asadi with a Washington Post writer/blogger from April. The Danish blogger Agora has more background and links.

The print edition of the Yemen Observer was shuttered, but the online version is still up and running. al-Asadi started a new media outlet, the Yemen Mirror, which reports the latest on his trial as of Nov. 8:

Observer’s verdict postponed again

The Yemen Observer and its editor Mohammed Al-Asaadi’s long waited verdict was adjourned today by Judge Sahl Hamza, chairman of a Sana’a court.

Al-Asaadi is accused in connection with allegations of republishing insulting cartoons first printed in Denmark of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH). The editor, who denies all charges, is charged under a press law that bans publication of anything that ‘prejudices the Islamic faith.’

Yemen Observer’s license was revoked and closed down in February for three months after republishing obscured fragments of the Danish cartoons in thumbnail size. The prosecutors accused Al-Asaadi of intending willingly to abuse the prophet (PBUH) and Islam. Some 21 private prosecutors, commissioned by radical Sheikh Abdul-Majid Al-Zindani, called for capital punishment against Al-Asaadi in an indirect way.

Al-Asaadi, who had spent 12 days in detention back in February, expressed his disappointment and frustration for the ongoing delays by the court refusing to comment to media.

Judge Hamza did not announce his decision of postponing the announcement of the verdict in an official court session. “The decision was communicated by his office manager,” a reporter who attended to cover the session. “The verdict announcement session is postponed to December 6.”

Meanwhile, Jane at Armies of Liberation notes another jailbreak in Yemen of 13 al Qaeda suspects–the third this year.

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Previous:

What American journalists should be thankful for
Free Muhammad al Asadi
Jim Hoft – Whatever happened to Mohammed al Asadi?
A journalist beheaded…guess why?
The war on the free press
American newspapers, will you please stand up?
The cowardly American media
In search of a brave American newspaper
First, they came for the cartoonists

Related:

A moderate Muslim fights for his life
Critics of Islam under fire…again

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Categories: Danish Cartoons, Islam

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