26 May 2007
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Latest Press Freedom News from the Region

This week, press freedom violations have occurred in Djibouti, Iraq, the Palestinian Territories and Sudan.

In the Palestinian Territories, Israeli army raids targeted five Palestinian radio and TV stations in the West Bank city of Nablus on 21 May 2007. Some of the stations had to stop broadcasting, as soldiers removed their equipment.

Also in the Palestinian Territories, journalist Abdelsalam Mussa Abu Askar, Abu Dhabi TV's bureau chief in Gaza, was freed several hours after being kidnapped on 18 May 2007. His colleagues alleged members of the Hamas-affiliated Executive Force were involved in his abduction.

In Iraq, Ali Khalil was abducted in the south of Baghdad on 20 May 2007 and his dead body was found later on that same day. His murder might be linked to an article in which he quoted members of parliament calling on the authorities to physically eliminate members of armed groups.

Also in Iraq, Salam Duhi al-Sudani, a journalist who worked for the disrupted daily Al-Zaoura, went missing in the south of Baghdad on 9 May 2007.

Also in Iraq, two ABC News journalists, Alaa Uldeen Aziz and Saif Laith Yousuf, were killed by unidentified gunmen in Baghdad on 17 May 2007.

In Sudan, the Arabic-language daily al-Sudani was banned following the publication of an editorial accusing the justice minister of "lying in a money-laundering case." Its publisher and editor, Mahgub Erwa and Osman Mirghani, who had been imprisoned on 17 May 2007 were respectively released on 19 and 20 May 2007.

In Djibouti, Houssein Ahmed Farah, a contributor to the opposition weekly Le Renouveau was detained following accusations that he had written an article linking President Ismaƫl Omar Guelleh to an alleged sex scandal involving a businessman from Dubai. Farah was freed on 13 May 2007 after a judge ruled there was not enough evidence to establish that he was the author of the article. Within hours of his release, police from the department of criminal and special cases carried out another raid on Le Renouveau's premises, where newly acquired printing material was being stored.

Sources for the alerts:
Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Paris
Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), New York