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IPI expresses support for journalist facing seven years in prison

(IPI/IFEX) - Vienna, March 19, 2012 – All 27 executive board members of the International Press Institute (IPI), the world's oldest global press freedom organisation, expressed unanimous support last week for Israeli journalist Uri Blau.

Blau faces charges under Israel's Espionage Act and seven years in prison over articles he wrote for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz using classified military documents passed to him by an Israeli conscript in 2009.

The articles alleged – based on the documents received – that the Israeli military breached a court order on assassinations in the West Bank.

The IPI board members underscored the apparent public interest served by publication of the grave allegations, recalled that journalists everywhere, especially in democracies, have a fundamental right to use leaked documents as a foundation for stories of public interest and urged the Israeli authorities to recognise that right by dropping all related charges currently pending against Blau.

Further, the IPI board members rejected calls from Blau's critics that he should be prosecuted.

Uri Blau risks conviction under Article 4: Espionage, Section 113(c) in the Israeli Penal Code, for being in possession of classified information without authorisation, but without the intention to harm the state.

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