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Jailed Libya journalist out on bail


A Libyan journalist detained for four months in prison charged with insulting the judiciary was released Sunday on bail, his lawyer told AFP.

"Amara Abdullah al-Khitabi was released at the end of a hearing on Sunday upon the payment of 500 dinars ($390) and confiscation of his passport, and is now with his people," said Ramadan Salem.

Salem said a new hearing was set for June 23, at which his client would challenge the "constitutionality" of the court proceedings that led to his arrest and trial.

The editor of Al-Umman, Khitabi has been accused of "defaming and insulting" the judiciary after his newspaper published a list that was circulated widely on the Internet naming 87 judges and prosecutors believed to be corrupt.

Denouncing irregularities in the court proceedings, the defence team have called for release of the 67-year-old Khitabi who if found guilty can face up to 15 years jail term.

Khitabi was hospitalised recently after a three-week hunger strike.

Human rights groups such as Reporters Without Borders and Amnesty International have also called for his release.

Dozens of new television stations and newspapers sprang up across Libya following the 2011 fall of Moamer Kadhafi, who gagged the media during his four decades in power.

But journalists in the country have become the target of attacks and kidnappings in recent months by armed militias.