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Twenty journalists arrested, then released

(ANHRI/IFEX) - Cairo 10/11/2010 - The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) expressed its strong condemnation of the fierce security attack launched by the Libyan government on media organizations owned by the Al Ghaed company. Twenty journalists and reporters from the Libyan Press news agency were detained in Tripoli by security officers. Libyan authorities also prevented the publishing of last Thursday's issue of "Oea" newspaper, founded by Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, who is the son of the current president.

Security officers raided the offices of the Libyan Press news agency last Friday and arrested 10 journalists and correspondents without giving any reasons. Then security officers arrested another 10 individuals last Sunday, in addition to censoring the "Oea" newspaper issue, on orders of the Secretary of the People's Committee for the Culture General Authority Publishing houses of the Libyan government.

It is strange that the paper had been issued on Sunday with a slightly different name, that is "Sabah Oea" with the same editor. The most recent issue of "Oea" stated that there is no relationship between it and the paper that was issued with a different name, and that they did not supervise the published article in any of its pages.

It is noteworthy that Al Ghaed, which is thought to be on the reformers' side, belongs to the Libyan leader's son, who criticized the Libyan government many times in media quotes, in addition to his many clashes with the conservatives.

"The Libyan authorities released the jailed journalists quickly, but this is a very dangerous matter, and we can't stay silent about it, particularly because the majority of the repressive governments in the Arab world have been accustomed to such practices to intimidate journalists and make them more careful in handling important issues and criticizing the governments," ANHRI said.

"What happened against Al Ghaed company is not new to the Libyan government; since the inauguration of President Gaddafi more than 40 years ago, there have not been any fair elections, or any space for citizens to express their views in Libya. This is confirmed by the fierce campaign launched by the Libyan authorities on Al Ghaed because of their criticism of the government," ANHRI added.

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