Israel : trial of Syrian public television's Golan Heights correspondent begins

    MONTREAL, March 4 /CNW Telbec/ - The trial of Ata Farahat, Syrian public
television's Golan Heights correspondent, began behind closed doors on 2 March
in Nassera, 200 km north of Jerusalem. Arrested on 30 July, Farahat is being
held in Al-Jalama prison, 14 km southeast of Haifa. At a meeting with the
prosecutor and Farahat's lawyers in December, the judicial authorities
scheduled five hearings for the trial - on 2, 10 and 30 March and on 10 and
17 April. But during the first hearing on 2 March, which was set aside for
prosecution witnesses, the judge cancelled the 10 March hearing. The Israeli
authorities, who have banned Farahat's lawyers and the news media from
reporting anything about the trial, have still not said what he is charged
with. His relatives, who has still not been allowed to see him, denied reports
that his employer, Syrian public TV, had stopped paying his salary.

For further information:

For further information: Katherine Borlongan, secretary general,
Reporters Without Borders, (514) 521-4111, Cell: (514) 258-4208, Fax: (514)

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