Journalists protest against Blau indictment (JERUSALEM POST) By RUTH EGLASH, JOANNA PARASZCZUK 06/03/12)
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The Jerusalem Journalists Association began a protest Sunday outside
the Justice Ministry in the capital over the Attorney-General’s
decision this week to indict Haaretz reporter Uri Blau.
A-G Yehuda Weinstein announced Wednesday that he would charge Blau
with possession of classified military documents which he received
from former OC Central Command secretary Anat Kamm. The decision
follows a 2008 story in which Blau, using leaked documents, revealed
that the military planned in advance to assassinate Palestinian
political leaders and fighters, but then passed their deaths off as
mishaps during ”failed” attempts to arrest them.
In a statement released Thursday, Jerusalem Journalists Association
said the decision to indict a journalist for holding classified
documents set a dangerous precedent for press freedom in the country
and called on all its members to join the protest on Sunday.
The attorney-general said he had carefully considered arguments
Blau’s attorneys had put forward, but had decided to reject them.
Blau is to be charged under the Penal Code with aggravated espionage,
which stipulates that obtaining, collecting, preparing, recording or
keeping secret information without authorization, but without intent
to harm state security, is punishable by seven years in prison.
In a statement, Weinstein noted that though Blau was being charged
under the “aggravated espionage” clause, the indictment would not
attribute the offense of “espionage” to him in the traditional sense
of that term.
As a result of Weinstein’s decision, the Tel Aviv district attorney
is expected to file an indictment against Blau in the Tel Aviv
District Court within a few weeks.
The attorney-general explained that before deciding to indict the
reporter, he had taken into account “all the relevant
considerations,” which he said included the need to preserve the
character of a free press and allow the media to carry out
its “essential role” in ensuring the public’s “right to know.”
However, he said that his office and the other government bodies
involved in the case, including the State Attorney’s Office, the Shin
Bet (Israel Security Agency) and the police, agreed that the case was
extremely serious in terms of the “characteristics of Blau’s
conduct.” (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 06/03/12)
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