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Newspaper suspended and fined after reporting on horse-racing scandal

(ANHRI/IFEX)- On 19 November 2008, the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) condemned an order handed down on 18 November by the Abu Dhabi court of appeal suspending the "Emarat Alyoum" newspaper for defamation. The court also fined the newspaper's editor-in-chief, Sami Al-Alraymi, 20,000 dirham (approx. US$5,400) and the newspaper 500,000 dirham (approx. US$136,000).

The sentences are based on a lawsuit filed by the Warsan Stables, based in UAE, in January 2007 following a front-page article published in the newspaper. The article, which was titled, "Stimulants scandal at Warsan Stables in the Emirates", accused the owners of using stimulants on horses running in international races.

ANHRI said, "The decision to suspend the newspaper is unnecessary and is a blatant violation of international conventions that provide for apologies from the press." ANHRI urges the cancellation of the suspension order and considers it an attempt to silence the newspaper. "Emarat Alyoum", which does not publish official news on its front page, has chosen to focus on public issues rather than political topics and contributes to the widening freedom of expression in the Emirates.

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