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Thursday, June 01, 2006

Jordan government to propose bill ending jail time for journalism crimes
Joshua Pantesco at 9:56 AM ET

[JURIST] The Jordanian government said Wednesday that it intends to introduce a bill in parliament that will eliminate prison sentences for journalism-related crimes, just one day after a court sentenced [JURIST report] two newspaper editors to two months in jail for "attacking religious sentiment" by reprinting cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad [JURIST news archive]. The journalists were arrested in February [BBC report], released on bail, and convicted Tuesday for by republishing the cartoons that incensed the Muslim world earlier this year.

A government spokesman said that King Abdullah [official website] has endorsed the free-press policy of not sentencing journalists to prison for journalism-related offenses. In February, however, the king condemned the cartoons as a crime that "could not be justified on the pretext of freedom of expression." The journalists are free on bail pending appeals. AFP has more.

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