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Sudanese writer and publishing house fined

(ANHRI/IFEX) - The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) condemned the ruling of one of the Jordanian courts, on 21 February 2010, against Sudanese writer Al Neil Abdel Kader and the Ward Publishing House. The court imposed a fine of 10,000 JD (approx. US$14,120) on each of the two defendants.

The writer and the publishing house were accused of "supporting Shi'ism" in a book that was published under the title, "Letters of the Sheikh Neil . . . Reviewing Islamic Thought".

The publishing house had sent a copy of the book to the Department of Press and Publication for licensing. The Department, however, filed a case against the publishing house and the book's author. The case was based on a report written by one of its employees, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, who considered the author a supporter of Shi'ism. The Department called for the case to be transferred to the Attorney General's Office for violating articles of the Press and Publications Law and speaking in contempt of religions.

ANHRI stresses its condemnation of all kinds of censorship on thought and creativity. ANHRI also calls on the Jordanian authorities to respect international conventions that guarantee the right to freedom of opinion and expression. The book is an attempt by the writer to represent an idea; opposing views should be discussed in academic and intellectual forums, and not be debated in court.

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