SANAA, (Reuters) – A Yemeni court on Wednesday fined a newspaper editor 500,000 rials ($2,541) for reprinting cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, which provoked outrage among Muslims around the world earlier this year.
The court found Mohammad al-Assadi, editor-in-chief of the English daily Yemen Observer, guilty of denigrating Islam. Assadi has said he reprinted the satirical caricatures to show how insulting they were.
“The judge has made a mistake … The guilty verdict in this case is what harms the image of Islam,” Assadi’s lawyer, Mohammed Alaw, told reporters after the ruling.
The defence and prosecution both said they would appeal against the ruling.
Last month a court sentenced another Yemeni editor, Kamal al-Aalafi of al-Rai al-Aam newspaper, to a year in jail for reprinting the cartoons, which first appeared in a Danish daily in September 2005.
The cartoons, one of which depicted the Prophet with a bomb in his turban, were seen by many Muslims as blasphemous and sparked protests early in 2006 in which more than 50 people were killed in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
The editor of another Yemeni publication, al-Hurriya, is facing similar charges though President Ali Abdullah Saleh has promised to scrap jail terms for journalists convicted of violations in publishing.