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Amara Al-Khitabi

The editor of the privately-owned Tripoli newspaper Al-Umma, Amara Al-Khitabi is a victim of Libya’s penal code and, in particular, article 195, which remains in effect although it is very repressive. Aged 67, he was arrested on 21 November 2012 and was held for more than four months, becoming the first Libyan journalist to be jailed after the fall of the Gaddafi regime. His crime was publishing a list of 87 judges and prosecutors suspected of corruption and then refusing to reveal his source. Charged with libel and “insulting the judicial system,” he faced a sentence of 3 to 15 years in prison under article 195. Although in poor health, he went on hunger strike. After being released, he was initially forbidden to leave the country to seek treatment. It was only on 21 August 2013 that he was allowed to travel to Jordan. Article 195 was recently amended, but only to adapt it to the post-Gaddafi era. It remains as draconian as ever and Khitabi is still facing a possible 15-year sentence.