Monday, June 20, 2005

Sharjah Police

Today's Gulf News reports that Sharjah Police held a press conference yesterday (unheard of!) to explain their position in the recent detention of a Gulf News reporter.

They denied that there was a travel ban against the person concerned. And yet she was prevented from boarding a flight from Dubai Airport.

The police say they only wanted to ask the lady some questions. Hmm....they could have done that at any time - she wasn't hiding and they knew very well where she worked. Possibly the fuel allowance problem within Sharjah Police prevented them from driving to Dubai.

Apparently the story hangs on Gulf News' reporting of the stabbing of a lady in Sharjah. Said lady has recovered, and has filed a defamation case against GN (how you defame someone by reporting that they were attacked is beyond me). In a statement made at the press conference she said the Gulf News had damaged the national interest by revealing details of the story before the perp had been caught.

As far as I know, until a suspect has been brought to trial, there can be no 'sub-judice' limitations. The press will obviously co-operate with Police when there is concern that reporting certain facts could compromise an investigation. But in this particular case I don't see that GN has done anything wrong, and I do see that Sharjah Police seem to have messed up bigtime.

Perhaps the silliest aspect of this story was that Gulf News were not invited, although their Arabic Editor got wind of it and turned up with his lawyer.

And in total contrast, what you might imagine to be a completely different story in Khaleej Times.

A very strange story indeed.