The National’s coverage of the activists on trial in Abu Dhabi has been reasonably good given the lack of complete press freedom enjoyed in this country. Yesterday’s article contained robust coverage of Sunday’s court appearance. The article included defense criticisms that the accused weren’t given access to prosecution documents and were being held in solitary confinement. However, the article which appeared in print and now appears on the website, differs slightly from the original report.

The third paragraph from the original report (which I copied after it appeared online) is missing:

Some (of the accused) have have been harassed by other prisoners, gotten lice and suffered foot injuries from being kept in chains, according to the lawyers, Abdul Hameed Al Kumaiti and Mohammed Al Rukun.

I have no idea who made the decision to delete this paragraph, but the details certainly seem relevant. Perhaps the editors at the paper don’t want to repeat unproven allegations about mistreatment. But, the lawyers made these allegations in open court at a public hearing, so it seems well within in the boundaries of good journalism to report them.