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Court officers attack journalist

(AJI/IFEX) - Eight officers of the district court of Ambon, Moluccas, in Indonesia attacked Juhry Samanery, correspondent of SCTV, on 7 May 2010. Juhry sustained injuries to his face and right hand.

The incident happened right after journalists in Ambon covered a court session. The judge had not allowed a reporter from "Koran Siwalim", Lotje Patipawae, to take pictures of the session. As Indonesia law allows journalists to take pictures or report live inside a courtroom during sessions, the reporters asked the judge, after the session, his reasons for the prohibition.

Seeing journalists were debating with the judge, some court officers started to get irritated. It was at this point that Juhry unitentionally bumped into one of the officers.

Suddenly, the officer attacked Juhry. The journalist tried to run away from the officer but he and seven others chased and caught up with Juhry in the court's yard, where they proceeded to physically attack him. Other journalists tried to stop the officers, but some of the officers also hit them. Others intervened and stopped the two groups from fighting.

The Moluccas Media Center (MMC), an NGO that advocates for press freedom in the region, protested the actions of the court officers. "Their actions were against the Press Law and they should be subject to a year's imprisonment ," said Insany Syahbarwaty of MMC.

Moluccas-based journalists likewise demanded that the police investigate the attack.

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