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An Iraqi court has thrown out a case by a government commission against a journalist sued for publishing an article critical of the commission.
Lawyer Nima Rubaie, who represents journalist Majed Kaabi, said the Court of Information and Publication on October 4 rejected a case filed by the Al-Hajj Commission against Kaabi, who published an article in the "Bi'aa" (New Constructive) newspaper on June 9 that accused the commission of not doing its job correctly.
The Al-Hajj Commission is responsible for helping Iraqis make the Islamic pilgrimage to the holy Saudi city of Mecca.
"This rejection [by the court] is the best translation of the new law on the protection of the rights of journalists in Iraq," Rubaie told RFI.
The Iraqi parliament recently passed a law that protects journalists from being sued for what they publish or for criticizing the government or its institutions.
Kaabi said he was satisfied with the ruling by judge Shihab Ahmed Yassin. He told RFI he was sure the court would support his case and was expecting the decision.
"I will always stand by the truth and the rights of citizens against any abuser," he said.
The court began considering his case in June. The Al-Hajj Commission said it will appeal the decision.
Spokesman Najm Saedi told RFI "it's not only about the article, but this journalist accused the people working in the commission of being liars," he said. "[Kaabi] also refused to apologize."
Rubaie said he is worried about the large number of lawsuits being filed against journalists and media organizations in Iraq.
"In one year we had 200 cases [against journalists and media outlets]," he said.
But Rubaie added that he is sure the Iraqi judiciary knows how to deal with such cases and will defend the rights of journalists.

-- Radio Free Iraq

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