Another day, another journalist in the dock

6 Mar, '07

Al-Wasat journalist Hussain Khalaf indicted for libel

This time, the lottery winner is Hussain Khalaf who has been indicted and fined BD50 (US$132) for describing a fight without naming the participants!

The Bahrain Journalists’ Association is urging Mr. Khalaf to appeal the case as it believes – rightly – that he did no wrong.

As young teenagers, we used to joke with each other that we should not drive our cars in the last week of the month, as it is in that week specifically – we naively thought – that the traffic police got to be rather conscientious about their job and handed driving offences left, right and centre. The reason, we surmised, was that they are ensuring that they get paid their salaries for that month from our fines!

If this is the motive behind these continuous harassing techniques by the public prosecution or the government in general, then let’s not waste time with all of this and start a “Writers Kitty” where every writer pays a subscription of a set amount per month and be done with it! That would save the prosecution’s, court’s and the public’s time and efforts and will hopefully get them all to dedicate their time more industriously investigating the myriad of delayed cases that desperately need resolved and fairly decided.

Once again, I offer my support to another journalist, Mr. Hussain Khalaf this time, and agree with the BJA in that no wrong has taken place, judging by what has been written about the case.

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Comments (3)

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  1. Abu Arron says:

    I have to admit that I’m confused. If a case goes to court, the parties involved cannot be named. If the accused is found guilty, no names can be printed. Something I’ve always found reassuring. We could have a mass murderer/rapist in our midst and the nation is not informed who that person is. Extremely handy if the culprit manages to purchase a release after just a few months.

    While I’m on my soapbox, what possesses the courts to allow other GCC nationals to be freed on bail and they never return to Bahrain for the outcome of the case (and any punishment). I’m still bristling about the discovery last year of firearms and ammunition in a car on the Causeway. The culprit was arrested, IMMEDIATELY bailed, returned home, never seen again. Don’t the courts learn from experience, or are they like ducks? Every day is a brand new world.

  2. mahmood says:

    Don’t the courts learn from experience, or are they like ducks? Every day is a brand new world.

    Indeed.

    In fact, the Minister of Justice was lightly roasted in parliament yesterday and he’s promising an overhaul. That ministry has gone through 3 ministers in its history (the last 2 in the last 3 years or so) and one organizational change. The new minister is promising to speed things up by modernising their employed processes.

    Let’s see what happens. He’s got a huge task on his hands, not least of which is the disproportional application of the law and its fines.

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