Al Ittihad editor, executive editor fined in libel case

ABU DHABI — The First Misdemeanours Department at the Abu Dhabi Federal Court of First Instance has fined Ali Abu Al Reesh, Editor of Al Ittihad Arabic daily, and Abdullah Rasheed, Executive Editor, Local News, Dh20,000 each in the case filed against the two journalists by Jumaa Ahmed Al Salami, Assistant Director for the Private Education Sector at the Ministry of Education.

By Nada S. Mussallam

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Published: Wed 27 Jul 2005, 10:21 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 3:44 PM

The verdict was issued during the session chaired by Dr Jamal Al Din Hijazi, a judge at Abu Dhabi Federal Court of First Instance, said Mohammed Yousif, Chairman of the Journalists Syndicate and Chairman of the journalists' defence team.

“The verdict passed against our colleagues Abu Al Reesh and Rasheed is the outcome of a case filed by Al Salami against Abdullah Rasheed accusing him of libel and vilification in his daily column ‘Dababees’ (Pins) in the paper supplement — Dunia (World) dated 16, 17 and 18 October 2003 and as well against Abu Al Reesh being the responsible editorial manager of the Arabic daily,” said Yousif in a statement made available to Khaleej Times.

He said the journalists' defence team would appeal the verdict, because the column in question doesn't address any particular person while the article was meant to tackle an important issue of interest to a large segment of the society.

“The defence team appreciates the efforts of all those who had participated in defending the journalists. We still maintain the right to appeal and hope that this step would be in favour of our colleagues.”

The court had ordered that the case against Nasir Al Dhahiri, writer of the ‘Eighth Column’ in the paper, which was filed by Brigadier Ali Al Shehi who later withdrew it, be dismissed.

For his part, advocate Abdullah Hameed Al Al Kumaiti, Member of the journalist' defence team, disclosed Al Ain prosecution had decided to dismiss five complaints against a number of journalists including four cases against Abdullah Khazir of Al Bayan Arabic newspaper.

The fifth complaint was against the same journalist and against all newspaper correspondents in Al Ain City, he said.

He underlined the public prosecution, following a review of the investigations related to the complaints in question, determined that Abdullah Al Kazir's behaviour was unblemished and that he had observed professional integrity code of ethics. It ruled what the journalist had done was not contradictory to the law and was considered as “constructive criticism” in the interest of the public.

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