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Journalist detained on charges of libel and slander

(MADA/IFEX) - 29 March 2012 - The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) today expressed concern that the Magistrate's Court in Ramallah extended the detention of Jordanian "Al-Ghad" newspaper correspondent Yousef Al-Shayeb by 15 days, especially in light of his decision to commence a hunger strike, putting his health at risk.

The Palestinian Authority arrested Al-Shayeb three days ago in Ramallah, and the prosecutor charged him with libel and slander following an investigative report he published in "Al-Ghad." In the article, Al Shayeb claimed the Palestinian Representative Office in Paris was involved in corruption. He was arrested under the provisions of Articles 188 of the Penal Code of 1960 of Jordan, relating to slander and libel.

Al-Shayeb was detained by the public prosecutor for 48 hours on Monday, 26 March 2012. He was then presented to the court on Wednesday, 28 March and now his detention has been extended by 15 days. Al Shayeb was simply doing his job as a journalist, and it is worth noting that under Article 4 of the 1995 Press and Publications Law of the Palestinian National Authority, journalists, news agencies, and editors have the right to keep sources of information confidential unless the Court decides that the information is relevant to prevent crime or for the protection of state security.

Al-Shayeb's lawyer insisted this principle should be considered in relation to the request for an extension of Al-Shayeb's detention, but the Court extended his detention by 15 days.

MADA demands his release and calls for an end to the policy of arrest and detention of journalists in the occupied Palestinian territories and for freedom of opinion and expression to be respected.

MADA also condemns the detention of three journalists, including a correspondent from the WAFA news agency, Salem Mohammed Abu Salem, as well as other journalists, Cecilia Udden, from Swedish Radio, and freelance reporter Alexandra Sandal, both Swedish

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