Index Index – International free speech round up 05/02/13

An unknown gunman in Denmark has shot at a prominent writer and historian who is a critic of Islam. Reports said that Lars Hedegaard was not injured. The perpetrator arrived at Hedegaard’s Copenhagen home today (5 February) pretending to deliver a package, instead firing shots at the Danish writer, missing the intended target. Hedegaard is head of the International Free Press Society, a group claiming that Islam threatens press freedom. He was fined 5,000 Kroner (approximately £575) in 2011 for insulting Muslims in a series of statements.

A woman who claimed she was raped by Somalian authorities and the journalist who interviewed her have today (5 February) been jailed in Mogadishu. Judge Ahmed Adan found the woman guilty of offending the state, who will serve one year in prison after she finishes breastfeeding her baby. Freelance journalist Abdiaziz Abdinuur was charged with offending state institutions through false interviewing and entering a woman’s home without the husband present and is to start his one year sentence immediately. Three other defendants, including the woman’s husband and two others who helped introduce her to Abdinuur were found not guilty and freed. The journalist was detained on 10 January for interviewing the woman who had claimed she was raped by soldiers at a displaced person’s camp where she was living in Mogadishu.

A Singaporean photographer was arrested on 4 February in Tokyo for selling books containing pictures of male genitalia. Leslie Kee was arrested along with two members of staff at a publishing firm on suspicion of obscenity and could be jailed for up to two years and / or fined up to 2.5 million yen if found guilty. The trio were detained for selling seven copies of the book to two customers at Kee’s Tokyo gallery — prompting the fashion community in Japan to jump to their defence. The 41 year-old photographer is well known in Japan and has photographed the likes of Naomi Campbell and Beyonce. Japanese domestic law rules that pictures of genitals must be obscured, a method usually practiced through pixelation.

Debby Wong -

Donald Trump has filed a legal suit against a comedian after proving he is not the spawn of orangutans

The Eritrean government has blocked access to Al Jazeera inside the country. The Qatari TV news network has been unaccessible since 1 February, after the information ministry issued a decree preventing anyone from providing access to its news service. Restaurants, hotels and cafés were particularly targeted and Al Jazeera’s English-language channels were blocked. Eritrean authorities allegedly ordered the ban after Al Jazeera ran stories on demonstrations by Eritrea’s exiles outside Eritrean diplomatic missions in London, Frankfurt, Stockholm, Rome and Cairo in opposition of the government and support of soldiers who staged a mutiny after they stormed the information ministry in Asmara on 21 January. Eritrea holds the highest number of imprisoned journalists in Africa.

Andrew Mitchell, the cabinet minister who resigned following the “plebgate” scandal is to sue The Sun for libel for its reporting of the case. The former government chief whip swore at police officers after they refused him to exit his office through Downing Street’s main gates on 19 September 2012, allegedly saying: “you’re all plebs”. The Conservative MP stepped down from his role a month later. It wasn’t until December that evidence was taken into doubt after CCTV seemed to question the police log and witness reliability. Scotland Yard arrested three police officers in connection with the affair. Mitchell admitted to swearing at the officers but denied using the term “plebs”. He is seeking damages, costs, an apology and an undertaking that the words are not repeated in future.

Donald Trump is suing a comedian after he failed to honour a $5million (£3.1m) lost bet that Trump was the descendent of orangutans. Bill Maher had joked on Jay Leno’s Tonight Show that, if Trump presented him with proof that he was not the product of a tryst between his mother and a primate, he would pay $5million to charity. The business tycoon then proceeded to send a copy of his birth certificate to Maher, along with a note saying “cough up”. Trump said that there was no evidence that the comedian had offered the money as a joke, citing his “pathetic delivery”. Trump then released his birth certificate publicly along with a letter from his lawyer, confirming that he was in fact, entirely human. Maher has failed to offer the cash, prompting Trump to file legal documents in the Superior Court of California on 4 February. Trump has been a prominent voice in the “birther” movement, which claims that Barack Obama was not born in the United States and hence is not eligible to be president.