Jordan cartoon editors released on bail

Two weekly newspaper editors charged in connection with reprinting offensive caricatures of Prophet Muhammad have been released.

    Jordanians protested over the cartoon caricatures

    The men were charged with "harming religious feelings" but released on bail after a request by Jordan's press watchdog.

    Nidal Mansour, director of the Amman-based Centre for Defending the Freedom of Journalists, said: "We made a request for the release of Jihad al-Momani, chief editor of the weekly Shihan, and Hashim al-Khalidi, chief editor of al-Mihwar, on bail and it was granted."

    Mansour said the men were first taken to an Amman hospital for a checkup before returning to their homes on Sunday.

    Both men have pleaded not guilty. Al-Khalidi's trial resumes on Wednesday and al-Momani's the following day.

    Reprints of the cartoons published in the name of press freedoms by several European newspapers have sparked fierce protests by Muslims throughout the Middle East and Asia.

    Outrage

    Al-Momani was arrested on 4 Febuary after being fired several days earlier for taking the step of publishing three of the 12 Danish caricatures.

    "This is how the Danish newspaper portrayed Prophet Muhammad, may God's blessing and peace be upon him"

    Headline of Shihan newspaper which printed the cartoons

    One of the reprints included the cartoon that depicts the prophet wearing a turban shaped like a bomb with a burning fuse. The headline said: "This is how the Danish newspaper portrayed Prophet Muhammad, may God's blessing and peace be upon him."

    Al-Momani said he reprinted the material in order to show Jordanians "the Danish offence".

    The government threatened legal action against him. It was initially believed that al-Momani was the first in the Arab world to reprint the drawings.

    However, al-Khalidi said he reprinted the caricatures on 10 November with an article criticising the Danish newspaper. He said the reproductions were extremely small and not easily viewed.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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