K. Male' | Aala Ibrahim | 14-January-2017 | Saturday 21:40 | aalu_aala | Local | 2,323
Sentencing for convicted Raajje TV cameraman Zareer has been scheduled for Monday, 16th January 2017.
Adam Zareer, a videographer at Raajje TV was on trial on charges of obstructing police officers during the station’s coverage of an anti-government protest on March 25, 2016.
Zareer was arrested along with Raajje TV journalist Mohamed Wisam while covering the protest. The pair was released after five days in police custody.
Zareer did not plead guilty. However, the criminal court heard both prosecution and defense witnesses during the trial.
The criminal court heard closing arguments on 30th November 2016, and announced that a verdict will be delivered on January 16th 2017.
Wisam and another Raajje TV journalist Leevan are also facing charges of obstructing police officers while sentencing for both of them has been scheduled for 19th January 2017. The pair is accused of attempting to block the arrest of a third journalist on November 2, 2015 during a bomb scare in the capital. Both of them were found guilty while the verdict is to be announced on Thursday.
Wisam is accused of grabbing a policeman from behind and Leevan of trying to remove the officer’s hand from journalist Hussain Fiyaz Moosa, Raajje TV’s chief operating officer. Fiyaz is also on trial on a charge of touching an individual without his consent. A court hearing is scheduled on 29th of this month for the charges over Fiyaz.
Raajje TV has dismissed the charges against its staff as “baseless in its entirety”, describing the trials as “an attack on press freedom and an attempt to impede, harass and psychologically torture Raajje TV journalist with the objective of stopping Raajje TV’s independent broadcasts.”
Press Freedom groups including Committee to Protect Journalists, International Federation of Journalists and Washington-based National Press Club have also expressed concern over declining press freedom in Maldives.
The Maldives is now ranked 112th on the France-based Reporters Without Borders’ press freedom index, which said the country remains “very hostile for independent and opposition media”.
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