The wife of a hunger-striking Libyan journalist has told Amnesty International of her disbelief that her husband has been imprisoned and denied bail for ‘offending’ the judiciary under an al-Gaddafi-era law.
Amara al-Khattabi, the editor-in-chief of al-Umma newspaper, was arrested last December and has been on hunger strike since 28 February in protest at his detention. He was arrested a month after his newspaper published a list of 84 judges allegedly involved in corruption.
His wife Masara al-Ghussain declared a hunger strike in his support on Sunday, after al-Khattabi was transferred to a hospital on 4 April due to his deteriorating health.
“All he did was to publish a list of judges,” his wife told Amnesty International.
“Has the act of copying and pasting now become so dangerous in Libya that it requires people being sent to prison?”
Charged with “offending” the judiciary, al-Khattabi faces up to 15 years in prison under Article 195 of the Code of Criminal Procedure relating to “the insulting of constitutional or popular authorities”, a law frequently used in the al-Gaddafi era to repress freedom of expression.
Amnesty International calls for the immediate and unconditional release of the journalist who should have never been arrested in the first place for publishing such a list.
Masara al-Ghussain is calling on the court to release the senior journalist at the next hearing scheduled for 15 April.