19 March 2003


Government pardons and releases Jordanian journalist who was earlier sentenced to death

Incident details

Firas Al-Majali


(IFJ/IFEX) - The following is an 18 March 2003 IFJ media release:

IFJ Welcomes Qatari Decision to Pardon Death Row Journalist

The International Federation of Journalists today welcomed the decision by the Government of Qatar to release Firas Al-Majali, the Jordanian journalist convicted on spying charges and facing execution. Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Amir of Qatar, issued the pardon on Monday, to mark the visit to Qatar of Jordan's King Abdullah II.

Firas Al-Majali, 30, worked as a reporter for state-owned Qatar Television. He was sentenced to death in October, after accusations of sending information to Jordan on the status of US troops in Qatar.

The IFJ made several appeals over the case, expressing concern that Al-Majali was being made a victim in a strife between Qatar and Jordan over issues including the role of the Qatari-based Al Jazeera television network, which has been criticised by Jordanian leaders.

The journalist was released immediately, and flew aboard King Abdullah's private jet to Jordan, where he was reunited with his family and friends.

The IFJ represents more than 500,000 journalists in more than 100 countries.


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