These Journalists Are Facing Huge Threats And Injustice For Pursuing The Truth

Press freedoms are under assault around the world. These are the most urgent cases in November, including journalists receiving threats, being subjected to unfair trials, and their murders left unsolved.

No answers or justice one year after a violent murder inside the Saudi Consulate.

In 13 months without answers about the brazen killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, no independent criminal investigation has come. Pressured by recent attacks on Saudi oil facilities, the Saudi crown prince spoke out in September denying any role in Khashoggi's death. He did, however, claim responsibility for the “mistake” on behalf of consulate workers in Istanbul. Yet, findings from the UN and the CIA point to his involvement. Stateside, President Donald Trump blew a congressional deadline to release intelligence reports under the US Global Magnitsky Act.

An investigation has begun two years after a reporter’s killing in Malta.

Oct. 16 marked two years since Panama Papers investigative reporter Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed in a car bomb blast in Malta. In September, the Maltese government announced the establishment of a public inquiry, calling on investigators to ensure the process is fully independent and impartial. Three men are currently in detention in relation to the killing; however, the perpetrators, including the masterminds, have yet to be brought to justice. No trial dates have been announced.

An Egyptian journalist has been imprisoned and tortured.

On Oct. 13, security officers arrested Esraa Abdel Fattah, a reporter and social media coordinator for Tahrir News, a banned news website. She's one of at least seven journalists detained in Egypt amid anti-government protests that began in mid-September. The next day, Abdel Fattah announced on social media she would begin a hunger strike to protest abuse while in custody. She alleged that officials had taken her to an undisclosed location, beat her, hung her from handcuffs for hours, and choked her while demanding she give up her cellphone password.

Tanzanian authorities are withholding information about a missing journalist.

Nov. 21 will mark two years since the disappearance of freelance journalist Azory Gwanda, who had been investigating mysterious killings in rural Tanzania. The government has failed to conduct a credible investigation or disclose information. In July, Tanzanian Foreign Minister Palamagamba Kabudi said Gwanda had “disappeared and died” but then backtracked amid requests for clarification.

The trial is idling in the murder case of a Mexico City correspondent.

A trial is ongoing — with the next court date undetermined — for the suspected killer of La Jornada correspondent Miroslava Breach Velducea. She was killed in March 2017 in connection to her reporting on links between politicians and organized crime. The Mexico City newspaper that employed her reported that a note reading “for being a snitch” was found at the scene. With five confirmed deaths this year, Mexico ranks as the deadliest country for journalists.

Suspects are at large in the shooting death of an Indian editor.

Two police officers and Shujaat Bukhari, the founder and editor of the newspaper Rising Kashmir, were shot and killed by several unidentified people outside Bukhari’s office in June 2018. He had recently written a piece for India’s Scroll news website welcoming the government’s suspension of military operations against alleged terrorists during the month of Ramadan — and had approached a former chief official for “increased security.” Police identified four suspects, one of whom was later killed in a shootout. Subsequent updates have stagnated.

An Uzbek blogger is being held in detention and psychiatric care.

For the past month, Uzbek authorities have kept blogger Nafosat Olloshukurova in a psychiatric center in the Khorezm region, following 10 days of detention on charges of petty hooliganism and participating in unauthorized assemblies. Her family has not seen or been able to contact her since Sept. 23. She had been documenting journalist and poet Mahmud Rajabov’s march to the capital, Tashkent, to petition for authorities to drop a criminal case against him.

A journalist’s pretrial detention has been repeatedly extended in Egypt.

Mahmoud Hussein, a journalist working with Al Jazeera, has spent more than 1,000 days in pretrial detention in Cairo’s Tora Prison complex since his December 2016 arrest on anti-state and "false news" charges. His detention, which was initially pegged for 15 days, has been repeatedly renewed every 45 days and stems from a 2016 documentary about conscription in Egypt, which the government claims uses fake footage and aims to incite chaos.

A pending trial could carry a life sentence for a Nigerian publisher.

Eight days after the Aug. 22 arrest of Agba Jalingo in Lagos, Nigeria, federal authorities charged the publisher of privately owned online news outlet CrossRiverWatch with disturbance of public peace and treason for writings and social media posts about Cross River State Gov. Benedict Ayade. Courts are granting witnesses anonymity in closed testimony, calling into question the possibility of a fair trial. A guilty verdict for treason could sentence Jalingo to life in prison, while the disturbance charge could carry up to three years.

Fines and unequal punishment have been exacted upon Chadian newspaper leaders.

Martin Inoua Doulguet, director of the Salam Info newspaper, has been imprisoned awaiting a date to appeal his three-year sentence commenced in September following criminal charges of conspiracy and defamation brought by a former Chad government health official. The director of the newspaper Le Moustik was found guilty of the same charges but received no jail time, while both are subjected to fines. Each of them are to pay 1 million Central African francs ($1,675) to the state, and they share a joint responsibility for 20 million francs ($33,514) in plaintiff damages.

This post was written in cooperation with the One Free Press Coalition.

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