Bahrain newspaper editor attacked
Manama, August 26, 2010
Police are hunting two masked men who attacked the managing editor of a Bahrain newspaper in Riffa yesterday (August 25).
Muhannad Abu Zeitoun, who works for the Arabic publication Al Watan, was leaving the office for home when he was targeted at around 3 am.
The Palestinian, 31, suffered a shoulder injury after being stabbed with a sharp object and his car was also set on fire.
Interior Minister Shaikh Rashid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa strongly condemned the criminal attempt to assassinate Mr Zeitoun.
'The murder attempt is an act of terror aimed at muzzling voices, endangering Press freedom, undermining security and stability and threatening people's lives', he said.
He stressed the importance of His Majesty King Hamad's reform project in asserting the national role of the fourth estate, being a key platform to express opinion, promote dialogue in the framework of laws that warrant the freedom of responsible opinions and writings that align with national causes.
'Resorting to violence to muzzle honest and credible voices would derail the democratic march and sap public liberties,' he said.
Shaikh Rashid also vowed zero-tolerance in enforcing regulations on law-breakers and instigators, describing the protection of freedom of opinion as a constitutional duty.
He ordered security forces to track down the perpetrators and put them on trial to face charges for their sordid crime for Bahrain to remain forever the country of freedom and justice.
The Palestinian suffered a shoulder injury after being stabbed with a sharp object and his car was also set on fire.
He was taken to hospital, but released shortly after treatment.
Abu Zeitoun was getting into his car when he noticed a movement behind the vehicle.
'I saw a masked man who asked me if I worked for Al Watan,' he said. 'I then saw a second masked man reaching my car and setting it on fire.'
As Abu Zeitoun tried to stop the attacker, but he was stabbed with a sharp object in the shoulder.
'My car was in flames, but thank God the security guards stopped the fire before it destroyed the car entirely,' he said.
Abu Zeitoun revealed the newspaper was also planning to introduce new security measures to protect staff.
'There will be some security procedures to ensure our staff members are safe,' he said.
Abu Zeitoun does not believe he was personally singled out for attack. However, he says those responsible may have held a grudge against the newspaper for a campaign it has run condemning those calling for violence and terrorist attacks.
Abu Zeitoun said the attack had only made him more determined to carry on with his job.
'I will not stop my work or the way the newspaper is reporting news,' he said.
Central Governorate Public Prosecution head Osama Al Asfoor said a hunt was underway to find the attackers.
'The victim has been checked by a medical examiner and we have requested a report of the crime scene from the forensic laboratory,' he said.
Interior Minister Shaikh Rashid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa pledged on Tuesday that Bahrain would eradicate the threat of terrorism from its soil.
He said acts of sabotage and arson by law-breakers in various parts of the country would be stamped out during a meeting with Interior Ministry under-secretary Major General Tariq bin Dayna.
The Bahrain Journalists' Association condemned the attack and expressed its solidarity with Abu Zeitoun and the staff of the newspaper.
'The aggression won't intimidate journalists into giving their up their duties and noble mission - combating terrorism, violence and sabotage and dubious agenda seeking to undermine security and stability and derail Bahrain's march of freedom and democracy,” it said. – TradeArabia News Service