Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein 370 (R).
(photo credit: Ronen Zvulun / Reuters)
A group of leading international journalists sent a letter to Attorney-General
Yehuda Weinstein late Monday night urging him to drop all charges against
Haaretz journalist Uri Blau in the name of freedom of the press.
who published excerpts from a cache of classified military documents, was
charged last month with unauthorized possession of the classified materials and,
if convicted, could face a seven-year prison sentence.
In the letter to
Weinstein, the journalists – all of whom are executive board members of the
International Press Institute – called on the attorney-general to drop all
criminal charges against Blau. “It is inevitable that journalists covering
military and political affairs around the world will end up possessing secret
documents,” they pointed out.
“It is vital for any democratic system that
they not be prosecuted for this, in particular if – as in the case of Uri Blau –
the documents are used solely to serve a strong public interest,” said the
letter, which was signed by 21 journalists from some 14 countries.
members of the world’s oldest global press freedom organization, grouping
publishers, editors and journalists from around the world, we believe that the
prosecution of Uri Blau for possession of classified documents will set a grave
precedent for the future of Israeli journalism, especially investigative
reporting,” said the letter.
Blau, who published a number of reports
alleging possible military misconduct, received the classified materials from
former soldier Anat Kamm, who is currently serving a four-and- a-half year prison
term for her role in the affair.