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These Journalists Are Facing Threats And Injustice For Pursuing The Truth

Press freedoms are under assault around the world. These are the most urgent cases in October.

Posted on October 1, 2019, at 6:27 p.m. ET

It's been a year since Saudi Arabia assassinated Jamal Khashoggi — and nothing has been done about it.

Yasin Akgul / AFP / Getty Images

As of Tuesday, one year will have passed without justice or resolution for the death of Washington Post columnist and Virginia resident Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed inside Istanbul’s Saudi Consulate. Neither the White House, US State Department, nor United Nations have gotten involved, despite a congressional call for an investigation and CIA findings that point blame at Saudi Arabia’s crown prince. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has been slowly welcomed back into the community of nations.

This journalist with diabetes is on a hunger strike in Azerbaijan prison.

Aziz Karimov / AP

In September, journalist Afgan Mukhtarli, who has Type 2 diabetes, went on a hunger strike in protest of prison conditions in Azerbaijan. His six-year prison sentence began in January 2018 after authorities abducted the reporter in Georgia and charged him with illegally crossing the border and carrying contraband. He had been living in exile in Georgia since 2014 due to death threats in connection to his investigative reporting on corruption.

This Bahraini blogger serving a life sentence needs urgent medical attention.

Jaw Central Prison has continuously denied critical medical treatment (as well as prescriptions, toiletries, and hygienic products) for Abduljalil al-Singace, who has daily chest pain and was sentenced in June 2011 to life imprisonment for “plotting to topple the monarchy.” One of several high-profile government critics arrested for pro-reform protests, Singace had written critically about human rights violations, sectarian discrimination, and repression of the political opposition on his blog, Al-Faseela.

This imprisoned Iranian reporter has epilepsy and deteriorating health.

Last month, Iranian authorities allowed Marzieh Amiri a hospital visit to monitor her epilepsy after she had been denied proper medical attention in the months since her arrest for covering May Day demonstrations for a Tehran-based newspaper, Shargh Daily. Family members were not allowed contact during the medical care and were responsible for the bill. In August, Tehran sentenced Amiri to 10 and a half years in prison and 148 lashes for charges of “assembly and collusion against national security,” “propaganda against the state,” and “disturbing public order.”

This Kyrgyz journalist’s health has worsened after nine years in prison.

Vladimir Voronin / AP

In addition to his deteriorating health and limited access to medication, Azimjon Askarov has written letters home from prison in Kyrgyzstan that have noted punishment for detainees after visiting days. The ethnic Uzbek award-winning journalist has served nine years of a life sentence for reporting on human rights violations. In July, a Kyrgyz court ruled to uphold the term despite persistent international condemnation.

This Venezuelan photographer who's been jailed for one year without trial has an imminent court date.

¡Atención! Difusión Masiva. Hoy 29Ago# se cumple un año del secuestro judicial, que le tienen al reportero gráfico Jesús Medina Ezaine, pidió que sé publicará esta carta para hablarle claro al país y mencionó lo siguiente: Para la prensa, callar es un delito. ¡Yo no callaré!

Freelance photographer Jesús Medina has an Oct. 3 court appearance after serving more than a year in the Ramo Verde military prison with a trial pending. Venezuela has charged him with criminal association and inciting hate. Medina has previously faced harassment while reporting.

This US freelancer was detained in Syria seven years ago. There are still no answers.

Andrew Caballero-reynolds / AFP / Getty Images

Seven years ago, American freelance journalist Austin Tice was taken captive in Syria. The Georgetown University law student had spent the summer of 2012 reporting on civilian life during the country’s escalating conflict. He was detained at a checkpoint outside Damascus. Tice’s family and the US government have stated that he is alive despite there being no claim of responsibility for his captivity.

For nearly three years, an Egyptian Al Jazeera journalist has been imprisoned without a trial.

Karim Jaafar / AFP / Getty Images

For more than 1,000 days, Mahmoud Hussein has served pretrial detention in Cairo’s Tora prison complex. The journalist was arrested on Dec. 23, 2016, on anti-state and false news charges following an Al Jazeera documentary about conscription in Egypt. The jail time has been repeatedly renewed every 45 days, according to the local press freedom group Journalists Against Torture and a social media post from Al Jazeera director Yasser Abu Hilalah.

It's been almost two years of uncertainty regarding a Tanzanian journalist’s condition.

Mwananchi Publications Limited

A freelance journalist investigating mysterious killings in rural Tanzania, Azory Gwanda has been missing since Nov. 21, 2017. The government has failed to conduct a credible investigation or disclose what it knows. On July 10, Tanzanian Foreign Minister Palamagamba Kabudi said in an interview that Gwanda had “disappeared and died,” but backtracked amid requests for clarification.

A Moroccan journalist who covers politics is in jail for having sex before marriage.

Youssef Boudlal / Reuters

Moroccan authorities are employing journalists’ personal information as grounds for arrest, as in the case of Hajar Raissouni, a reporter for independent news website Akhbar al-Youm. She was taken into custody on Aug. 31 while leaving her doctor’s office with her fiancé. She was charged with sex outside of marriage and illegal abortion. She then endured questioning about her political writing and connection to a newspaper colleague.

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