RSF condemns death sentence

Published October 25, 2002

PARIS, Oct 24: The Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF) has denounced the Supreme Court of Qatar for sentencing to death a Jordanian journalist, Firas Majali, for alleged espionage.

“We are appalled at this sentence and at the prospect that it might be carried out,” said RSF Secretary General Robert Menard.

“Without going into the details of the charges against him, we note that his trial took place amid very tense relations between Jordan and Qatar, which meant it was not held calmly,” the RSF said.

According to RSF Middle East spokesman Severine Cazes-Tschann, “the broadcast on Aug 6 by the Qatar-based TV station Al Jazeera of a programme critical of Jordan triggered the immediate cancellation of the work permits of the station’s journalists and the closure of its office in Amman. The Jordanian authorities accused the station of subversion and insulting the royal family.”

Majali, who worked for the Al Jazeera, was arrested in the Qatari capital, Doha, in February and his trial began in May. His lawyer now has 15 days to appeal against the decision.

Al Jazeera said Majali had been accused of spying for Jordan.

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