Yemen detains three journalists over cartoons row

  • World
  • Sunday, 12 Feb 2006

By Philip Pullella

SANAA (Reuters) - Yemen has detained three journalists and is seeking a fourth after closing their newspapers for republishing satirical cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, officials said on Sunday. 

The Arab state had closed the three publications that printed the cartoons -- al-Hurriya, Yemen Observer and al-Rai al-Aam and sent their case to prosecutors. 

The officials said those detained are Mohammad al-Asaadi, the editor-in-chief of the English-language Yemen Observer, Akram Sabra, the managing editor of al-Hurriya weekly newspaper and reporter Yehiya al-Abed of Hurriya. 

The prosecution has issued a warrant for the editor-in-chief of al-Rai al-Aam, Kamal al-Aalafi. 

The Yemeni journalists' association called for the release of the journalists and for the annulment of the closure decrees "because these measures were not ordered by a court". 

"Reprinting the drawings was in the framework of responding to what the Danish newspaper published and informing the public about the offence to the Prophet," the message said. 

The controversial drawings which first appeared in a Danish daily in September angered Muslims across the region. 

Many Muslims consider images of the Prophet to be blasphemous. The cartoons, which showed Prophet Mohammad wearing a bomb-shaped turban, have unleashed a wave of fury, with protesters burning down the Danish embassies and calls by militant groups to attack Danish soldiers in Iraq. 

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