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CPJ concerned over Maldivian scribe's fate

Written by: Staff
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New York, Mar 29 (UNI) The New York based the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has expressed concern over the prosecution of a journalist, Abdullah Saeed, working with Minivan Daily, a Maldives newspaper.

Fahala, a reporter with Minivan, was sentenced to a two-month jail term on Sunday on charge of possessing about one gram of opium.

''We're concerned that the government could be using a serious charge to discredit a critic and intimidate his colleagues,'' CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper said.

''We urge the government to ensure transparent and fair proceedings,'' Mr Cooper added.

According to news reports, which quoted fellow journalists, the charge was fabricated to silence a critical scribe. They alleged the drug was planted by the police.

Minivan Daily is a supporter of the opposition Democratic Party in Maldives whereas CPJ works to safeguard press freedom worldwide.

The South Asian nation imposes various restricts on the news media. Maldives President Maumoon Gayoom had come under pressure in recent years to make democratic reforms and loosen up press curbs.

Minivan Daily was granted a license and allowed to begin publishing in July last year. The newspaper group includes a radio station and a Web site.

UNI XC PV RAI1138

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