Armies of Liberation

Jane Novak's blog about Yemen

Press Freedom in Yemen: Semi-Annual Report

Filed under: Media, Security Forces, Trials, Yemen — by Jane Novak at 11:00 am on Saturday, August 11, 2007

Introduction :

This is the first time that Women Journalists Without Chains (WJWC) initiates the production of its annual report on press freedom in Yemen in a semi-annual format to shed more lights on violation of the press and expose facts to the public and those interested in press freedoms. It is a step forward to wish for a bright future where freedom of press is respected and human rights are maintained.

Unlike last year’s report of 2006 which was full of jailing cases against press people, the current report enriched with direct attacks and security abuses perpetrated against journalists. It is also noted that the press violations rate was dramatically increased this year which reveal the tragic situation of press in Yemen.

It is worth mentioning that the current report records only the violations, as a result of opinions, perpetrated by state against media people and press facilities while other unrecorded cases remain human rights violations. Cases like assaulting the reporter Ali Zaid Al ghabri, murdering Athawri newspaper distributor, Aref Al Zuraiqi and the frequent assaults against the owner and the distributors of Al Musstaqela newspaper.

The report also excluded the many jailing cases filed against press people and newspapers such as Al Thawri and Al Wahdawi newspapers. Moreover, we didn’t record cases like the deprivation of almost all new publications of issuance or productions exercised by the ministry of information as the late accepted only two applications out of 65 applications it received let alone the intimidations campaign sited by the state through mysterious telephone calls. It was unfeasible to verify such calls so they were left unrecorded regardless the threats and intimidations they implied. Other cases of incitement and accusations practiced by the state were left for our final comprehensive report of 2007 to deal with.

Women Journalists Without Chains (WJWC)

Sana’a, 10/7/2007.

1. In 23/1/2007, the reporter of Al Bayan Emirate newspaper, Mr. Mohammed Al Gubari was attacked by three official security personal of the cabinet board while covering a press conference for the prime minister and his counter-part the Jordanian prime minister.

2. In 30/7/2007, the journalist Fuad Rashid, of Al Nehar newspaper was pursed in Mukala by the criminal investigation bodies for criticizing some officials in the governorate leadership.

3. In 30/7/2007, the Editor of Nass Press, Mr. Najeeb Al Yafae along with the Editor of Al Neda, Mr. Basheer Al Sayed were threatened by the capital criminal investigation office of getting assassinated for publishing the violations practiced against Mrs. Anisa Al Sha’abi.

4. In 30/7/2007, the Gulf-based magazine was prevented from distribution by the ministry of information on the grounds of publishing an interview with one of the joint meeting parties JMP’s candidate for presidential elections, Faisal Ben Shamlan.

5. In 1/2/2007, a forcible apprehension order was issued by the press attorney against the editor of Al Wahdawi newspaper, Mr. Ali Assaqaf, for execution of an earlier sentence issued against him of 6-month writing suspension and paying a fine of 550.000 YR.

6. In 11/2/2007, Editor of Al Muharer weekly newspaper, Mr. Sabri Salmeen, was detained by the political security at Al Rayan international airport and the 8 th issue of his newspaper was suspended of production for 36 hours.

7. In 13/2/2007, Mr. Abed Al Mahdhari, the editor of Al Diar newspaper was sentenced to 1-year imprisonment by the Sa’ada penal court.

8. In 13/2/2007, the Press and Publication Attorney issued a forcible apprehension against order Mr. Abdulkareem Al Khiwani, editor of Al Shoura net in reaction to the case filed against him by the ministry of defense for publishing a news storey about Al Badae airport of Mukala and a report about the bankrupt Watani bank in which an official of armed forces body was quoted.

9. In 19/2/2007, the writer and journalist, Anisah Mohammed Othman was humiliated and abused by the state-backed newspaper, Al Distor after she published some state-criticizing articles in Al Wasatt newspaper.

10. In 30/2/2007, the reporter of Al Ra’ai Al A’am newspaper, Mr. Hassen Al Hadad, was intimidated and summoned by the director of al Qiten district and harshly investigated for publishing a storey which exposed the governor’s illegal capture of public grave-yards and other historic remains.

11. From 12-25/2/2007, the Shoura net website was screened by the state for the publication of Sa’ada was news and after the armed forces’ newspaper (26 th of September) accused Shoura net of disloyalty and terrorism.

12. In 4/3/2007, the Wahdawi newspaper premises attacked and both the editor Assaqaf along with one of his staff, Mua’adh Al Maqtari were arrested and forcibly taken to the prison.

13. In 4/3/2007, Journalists Syndicate officials, Sami Galib and Hamdi Al Bukari were attacked along with a reporter of Al Nass newspaper, Najeeb Al Yafae by the Capital criminal investigation body and threatened and prevented of visiting their imprisoned colleagues, of al Wahdawi newspaper.

14. In 6//3/2007, Journalists Al Kheiwani, Anisah Othman and Mohamed al Maqaleh, Rasheeda Al Qaili were intimidated and threatened through an official statement published in the official 26 th of September newspaper website and they all were accused of disloyalty and conspiracy after they took part in a TV show dealing with Sa’ada conflicts broadcasted by Al Alam Channel

15. In 19/3/2007, the radio broadcaster, Amenah Hendi of Al Hodieda Radio was prevented from presenting her radio program. She also banned of getting in the radio premises for exposing the suppression practiced against her by the radio management and of being illegally not contracted although she has been working for the radio for 15 years.

16. In 19/3/2007, the writer Abdullah Al Faqeeh’s car was shot by unknown perpetrators after frequently criticizing the state in his articles.

17. In 19/3/2007, Al Jazeera Channel reporter, Mr. Ahmed Al shalafi, was threatened and publicly insulted by security forces while gathering information for his storey about refugees’ in Yemen.

18. In 23/3/2007, the journalist Mohammed Al Maqaleh, was threatened in front of his house by unidentified persons after publishing some critical articles in Al Wasat and Al Neda newspapers.

19. In 28/3/2007, the primary court held the first trial session of Al Muharer newspaper editor in the case filed against him by the Mukala Attorney and ministry of youth and sports on the grounds of publishing articles that imply insult.

20. In 8/5/2007, the reporter of Al Ayam newspaper, Mr. Abdulhafidh Mua’ajeb was intimidated and threatened by the escorts of head of Amran district for publishing some financial violations committed by the head of the district.

21. In 16/5/2007, the Yemeni socialist Party YSP website was screened following the publication of some Sa’ada war escalations.

22. In 15/5/2007, the Political Security has arrested the designing director of Al Balag newspaper.

23. In 19/5/2007, the reporter of Al Ayam newspaper got detained and threatened of confiscating her camera and recorder by the criminal investigation agent in the republican hospital in Taiz while reporting on the patients’ nutrition and food served to them in the hospital.

24. In 19/5/2007, Mr. Anees Mansoor, the reporter of Al Ayam newspaper was beaten up in Ibb by the Endowment office security and got his camera confiscated while covering a training course for mosque preachers there.

25. In 25/5/2007, the ministry of information officially issued its order to the GSM mobile company (MTN) to end the mobile news services of Al Nass mobile and Bela Qiood mobile on the grounds of lacking the official permission.

26. In 27/5/2007, both the ministries of telecommunications and information imposed their orders to Sabafon Company to cut the mobile service of Nass and Bela Qiood mobiles on the grounds of lacking the official permission.

27. In 27/5/2007, the reporter Rashad al Shara’abi was attacked by the Political Security agents at the Taj Sheba hotel.

28. In 30/5/2007, the reporter of Al Ayam newspaper, Bushra Al Ameri was detained by police in Sana’a while taking photos for the poor families living in the police zoon in Taiz Street.

29. In 31/5/2007, the special guards force seized the video camera of the Arabia Channel while its correspondent was covering the explosion of arms store in Nokom Mountain in Sana’a.

30. In 5/6/2007, the reporter of Al Wahdawi newspaper in Amran, Mr. Mahmoud Taha, got a threatening of murder by some unknown armed people after he published a report about Sa’ada war. His house was also attacked and his family and children got intimidated.

31. In 16/6/2007, Mr. Sami Ghalib, the Editor of Al Neda newspaper and his editorial staff were aggressively threatened of assassination, also by nameless persons, if they go on with investigation of their missing colleagues who were forcibly abducted from the newspaper premises.

32. In 13/6/2007, the reporter of Al Jazeera net, Mr. Abdu Ayiash, was attacked by the security of the Movinpeak Hotel and prevented from covering the 2 nd Regional Conference of Childhood protection.

In 30/6/2007, journalist Abdulkareem Al Kheiwani, was arrested by the national security personnel after they rigorously attacked his house and was taken to prison in a very humiliated manner. This forcible arrest took place due to the publishing of some news storey about Hothis-state war of Sa’ada by Al Kheiwani

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The Women Journalist Wihout Chains’ 2 nd Annual Report on Press Freedom in Yemen in 2006.

Introduction :

During the recent three years, the Yemeni written press has witnessed better advantage of the available press freedom as many writers started to call for reform actions and criticizing the government political system for not providing the desired freedom space of press, dealing with the reform issue, the writers were using unusual language. The criticism reached to the highest authority of the country, the president, who was blamed personally for the failure to provide satisfactory freedom for press and there was a call to hold him accountable in one hand, and doubting the success of the reform programs he has endorsed on the other hand.

Although Yemen has witnessed the emerge of variety of newspapers since the establishment of the Yemeni unification in 1990, but the last three years was distinguished of an extraordinary writings and writers who has relinquished their accustomed soft criticism tone which consequently exposed them and their newspapers to the sever government attacks and violations against press. As a result, many newspapers were closed, fined and materials confiscated, many pressmen were jailed or physically tortured and some other were kidnapped. Besides, tens of files were suited by the press attorney against these newspapers and the writers for publishing their opinions.

In general the two main events which characterized the Yemeni press in this period were:
- Newspapers and writers practicing their right of expression in an extraordinary way exceeding the so-called “red lines” and demanding a press freedom without harassments and a freedom without limits.
- Different types of violations paralleled with the increasing practice of freedom of expression.

As the Women Journalists Without Chains fully recognizing its role towards supporting the press freedom, it is pleased to present its second annual report about the press freedom in Yemen during the year 2006. This report, which comes after the launching of our first annual report in 2005 which included about 53 cases of press violations; on the average of one case a week, comes as a yearly tradition within our commitment to watch closely the situation of press in Yemen and the violations against it. In fact, the many violations included in this report were unlike our expectations. Surprisingly, the current report included higher violation rates than last year regardless the repeated president promises of abolishing the imprisonment penalty because of opinion against journalists, the condemnation of the previous violations locally and internationally, the many democratic events took place such as the presidential and local council elections, the donors and political reform conferences which require better climate for rights and freedoms. In spite of all that, the current report includes 69 cases of harassments and violations in addition to some cases of last year which still have its gloomy effects on the harassed journalists up to now.

Throughout this report, the WJWC has included only the violations which were committed against press because of expressing opinion or publishing personal views and ignored many other cases of harassments for another reasons or violations of rights against citizens which were left for specialized and concerned human rights centers to observe.

To conclude, we hope that the year 2007 will be a year without violations and press will be in better situation than before, prospered and freed without chains.

Chairwoman of the Women Journalist Wihout Chains (WJWC)

Tawakkol Karman

January, 2007.

Background of the Report:

The article (6) of Yemeni constitution guarantees freedom of expression by all means; verbally, in writing and in picture formatting. The Government of Yemen confirms its commitment to the UN convention, to the human rights International Declaration and to the agreement of the Arab League as well as the general international principles. The article (42) of the constitution speculates that” The State guarantees the freedom of thought and expression of opinion verbally or in writing or in picturing within the law”.
On the other hand, Yemen has also witnessed many reformatory calls and different local and international initiatives within which was the call for freedom of press and for providing wider space for practicing this right and to abolish the penalty against journalists for expressing and publishing opinions.

In November 2005, the Yemeni Joint Meeting Parties (opposition parties) had presented its political reformatory initiative in which they stressed on the significance of “Securing the right of exercising the freedom of expression, the right of protesting and sit-in, freedom of publishing, the right of possessing and launching different audio and visual press foundations and eliminating all the constraints that prevent the practice of all these rights which were guaranteed by the Constitution”.
Similarly, the final declaration of the 7 th ruling party conference, the GPC, held in December 2005 confirms on “guaranteeing the freedom of expression, publishing, possessing press facilities and the formation of the required legislations to protect these rights”. Moreover, the candidates’ platforms of the last presidential and local council elections were full of fanciful promises of working for providing wider press freedom of opinion and expression. For instance, the Ruling Party platform in respect to media and press freedom and guaranteeing the public and individual rights and protecting human rights stated that:
(Guaranteeing and enforcing freedom of opinion and expression, publication, circulation and protecting it with the necessary legislations). It also called for (the issuance of new press and publication law which ensure the cancellation of the penalty against journalists because of expression and opinion and providing the necessary legislations for the establishment of new space TV channels and radio stations which covers all the social, cultural and youth requirements).
In his electoral platform, the opposition Joint Meeting Parties’ candidate to the presidential election, Faisal Bin Shamlan, confirmed that he will work for (guaranteeing the right of exercising the freedom of expression, the right of protesting and sit-in, freedom of publishing, the right of possessing and establishing different audio and visual press foundations and eliminating all the constraints that prevent the practice of all these rights). He also demanded (the termination of violations of freedoms and rights practiced against personalities, parties, NGOs and journalists as well as social and political activists).

On the International level, Yemen also hosted many regional activities in which it officially took part in with the participation of different civic society NGOs. The most important functions hosted were: The discussion workshop dedicated for the independence and multitude of the Arab media means which resulted in Sana’a declaration on press freedom of January, 2006, The Emerging Democracies Conference of June, 1999, The group8 Summit for enforcing the democratic dialogue DAD which sponsored by the governments of Yemen, Italy and Turkey in (June 2004), and lastly, The Democracy and Political Reform and Freedom of Expression Conference held in June, 2006.
The recommendations of all these conferences stressed on the importance of providing protection for the journalists and their rights to access and get information as well as the right of possessing different audio and visual media facilities.

In spite of all these recommendations and demands either on the local or international levels, it wasn’t that much effective to create real integration or consensus to bring about the application of these recommendations in the reality as the situation remains unchanged; all the TV channels and Radio stations still state-run media facilities and not accessible by any other political parties or citizens.

Licensing & State Monopolization of the Audio-Visual Media:

In its article (19), the International Human Rights Declaration states that” Everybody is eligible to exercise the right of expressing his/her opinions, and this right includes the right of beliefs and thoughts without intervention, receiving and circulating thoughts or news and disseminating it regardless the means used or the geographical boundaries. However, neither this article nor the Yemeni constitution article (42) mentioned above, were completely applicable in Yemen except for the readable press which the public were allowed to run whereas TV and Radio remained monopolized by the state.
Despite the fact that, the Yemeni constitution didn’t not prevent any Yemeni citizen or political party to exercise the right of possessing different media facilities by any mean, the current media and press law No. 25 issued in 1990, included much constraints on practicing such constitutional rights and did not even mention or refer to the right of possessing TV and Radio facilities. The disregarding of such critical issue led to the misunderstanding by the state that the public and the political parties are prohibited from possessing these media facilities, which violates the constitution.
In addition, the current media and publication law which allows only the possession of newspapers has also included many conditions and requirements for the ownership, print and distribution of newspapers which led to the decreasing number of the private and partisan newspapers.
Moreover, the tough restrictions and conditions for getting a newspaper license which adopted by the ministry of information and retaining the right to withdraw this license any time, has contributed to the lack of diversity and shortcoming in the opposition and private newspapers. As a result, no more opposition newspaper issued since long time except some independent ones.

There are many cases of journalists who applied for getting licenses for issuing new newspapers since many years but in vein. Mr. Nabeel Assofi, Naif Hassan, and Rashida Al Qaily, are live examples as they reported that the disapproval is what they got for their applications. According to an official source at the ministry of information, there are more than 60 other applications which the ministry has not gone through yet.
We should consider these complicated conditions set by the information ministry as an effective weapon threatening the issuance of new opposition newspapers. Instead, the ministry grants the license to people who are not the real owners of the applied newspapers, but people in favor of the government like what happened with Ashoura and Sout Ashoura newspapers.

It is worth mentioning that the press and publication law, articles (86, 103) forbid any printing house to print any material/publication if it violates the law and hold the printer fully responsible for printing such material. Consequently, the printers were forced to exercise another sort of censorship on newspapers, demanding accurate checking of all written materials before printing!

In spite of the numerous calls for abolishing the licensing of newspapers and the publication prohibitions from the current press law, the draft of new press law which the ministry is currently working on didn’t even consider such demands which suggest the state’s unwillingness to change or cancel these constraints.

Attack instigation on journalists:

There are many harassments and attacks committed against journalists by ordinary people where the authorities seem to be not involved directly but, in fact, authorities have succeeded to incite public detestation and hatred against some journalists who were presented by the state-run media as threatening the stability and security of the country or as hands of external enemies of the country.
It is strongly believed that the official state-run media was responsible for instigating hatred and violence against journalists by repeating specific accusations like “intrigue provokers”, traitors”, “threatening the country interests” and many similar terms used sometimes by the president in his speeches and many times by other senior officials.

In spite of the president boasting of freedom of expression and his nonstop dunning to supporting press and journalists in his speeches, but there -at least- two speeches where he used direct instigative expressions against press and journalists. In his speech at the childhood conference of (Feb22, 2006) the president said” don’t force the country to hate you… get ride of this malice from your chest which appears through some bad writings…..there are red lines which you shouldn’t exceed, we have no malice while we have tolerant heart, but if the red lines were exceeded against the country, there will be another way to address that, the country is greater than anybody, greater than those who seek foreign support against their country or those knocking doors to conspire and complain against their country, God forbid, this is neither political plurality nor opinion and another opinion”. Another quotation from his speech in the graduation ceremony of an armed forces patch on March 25, 2006; he says ” The armed institution is the protector of the constitution and Shari ‘a and sovereignty on land, air and sea….and there some writers and conspired bodies trying to incite what it was incited in 1992 and 1993, and I am sure that all these conspiracies will be shattered on the solid rock of the armed foundation consciousness, awareness and affection of this country”. Similarly, the defense minister has repeated the same phrases during the same occasion on March 25, 2006 saying “in spite of the offenses which the armed foundation experienced by some newspapers, but it will remain insuperable by any opponent to the will of the nation such as those remains of the imamate and separatists and tails of the colonization… we will pluck all the tumors and sick dreams and fancies of the haters who plot conspiracies against the achievements of the country and its national regime”. These quotations were the climax of the wide accusation campaign directed against journalists by the official media. Here are some examples of official media assaults. Al Thawrah newspaper, which is known as the states first official newspaper since four decades, said in its opening of the issue dated in18/6/2005(the written press, particularly the opposition and private newspapers, have selected to use tricky methods of discrimination to provoke turbulences which are financed by external enemies and some haters and traitors inside the country who have targeted the revolution and its achievements and the unification and democratic orientation…those enemies are trying to use some needy writers of these newspapers to reach their goals.. those writers were foolishly attracted by fame and dirty money and think of themselves as heroes while the reality is completely different”.

The 26th of September newspaper, mouthpiece of the armed forces, said in its issue dated in 8/6/2006 (it is pity that nonsense and bubbles became the dominant language of the local press which get much worse when it comes to settling personal revenges. Using press for practicing such personal wars will be resulted in nothing but harms to the unification and stability of the country and the image of Yemen outside).

It is now believed that most of the violations and harassments exercised against journalists even by small officials were due to their strong believe that these journalists are disloyal and expelled by the society and they deserve punishment without even consulting their higher officers. In addition, those low level officers realized by experience that nobody will be held responsible for such attacks, so they continue practicing these violations without fears.

Publishing Prohibitions/Taboos:

We should mention that the many prohibitions for publishing which included in the press law resulted in the tens of imprisonment cases against journalists and closure of many newspapers on the grounds that they violated that law like criticizing president, Shari’a, or provoking insurgency and intrigue which were over generated inaccurately; making the writers and newspapers subject to fines, imprisonments and shutting down newspapers.

As we drive the attention of our readers to this prohibitions before reciting the 2006 violations, it is because we, at the WJWC, strongly believe that these prohibitions are even bitter than the traditional violations committed against press. A press person may afford imprisonment and beating-up but not to be prevented to access or use media means to express opinion, especially TV and Radio.

Detailed Press Violations of 2006:

1. In 5/11/2006, Marib PRESS website was screened by the ministry of telecommunication for 24 hours for covering the kidnapping of few Italian tourists in Marib. The ban was lifted two hourse after the hostages were released.
2. In 29/1/2006, the political security arrested Al Jazira TV channel team; Mr. Ahmed Al Shalafi, the correspondent, and Mr. Ali Al Baidhani, the photographer and they were verbally insulted for covering a sit-in at the clothing factory in Sana’a.
3. In 1/2/2006, the Sana’a south-west court sentenced Al Thawri newspaper editor, Mr. Khaled Salman and Mr. Naif Hassan, of Al Thawri also to one year imprisonment sentence with suspension of execution, and they both were prevented from writing for six months on the grounds of supporting Al Huthi case, inciting army for insurgency as well as attacking armed forces in their writings.
4. In 4/2/2006, Al Wahdawi newspaper Editor, Mr. Ali Assaqaf along with the Managing editor, Mr. Ahmed Saeed Nasser, were arrested by security forces and brought to South-west Sana’a court to be trailed for publishing a news story about citizens being attacked by republican guards in Anis District, and for publishing the story about a decayed body discovered in the Central prison.
5. In 4/2/2006, the ministry of information withdrew the license of Al Hurriah newspaper for republishing the cartoons of the prophet Mohammed ( p.p. upon him). Two days later, the editor, Mr. Akram Sabrah, and reporter Yahya Al Abed, were imprisoned for 18 days for the same reason.
6. In 8/2/2006, the South-capital Court has sentenced Mr. Khaled Salman, editor of Al Thawri, to six months imprisonment with suspension and jailed Mr. Nabeel Subaia’a for one year and prevented him from writing for six months with suspension for public insult of the president and jeopardizing the country unity.
7. Also in 8/2/2006, the South-capital Court , has announced Mr. Khaled Salman and Mr. Feqri Qassim, journalist, a guilty of the accusation of harming and jeopardizing the unity and publicly insulting the president Mr. Khaled was sentenced to six months imprisonment with suspension, and Feqri, was sentenced to one year imprisonment with suspension and prevented from writing for six months.
8. In 9/2/2006, the ministry of information withdrew the license of Al Rae Al Aam newspaper and closed it. It also gave directives to arrest the Editor, Mr. Kamal Al Olafi, by force on the grounds of republishing the Cartoons.
9. In 9/2/2006, the license of the Yemen Observer was withdrawn by the ministry of information and the Editor, Mr. Mohammed Al Assaa’di, was imprisoned for 12 days without any trial for publishing the Cartoons too.
10. In what is a considered a grave harassment of journalists and political activists, the government deliberately spied on phone their phone calls, unknown people have spied a phone call in9/2/2006, between Mr. Ahmed Ashalafi, Al Jaziera correspondent, and his wife. The call was published on the internet and sent to many places one of which was Al Jaziera where he works.
11. In 16/2/2006, the South-capital Court has fined Al Thawri newspaper an amount of 150.000 YR for the case filed against the newspaper and the journalist Mustafa Budair by t he Air force authority of Hodieda
12. Also in 16/2/2006, the same court has sentenced Mr. Khaled Salman to 2-year imprisonment with suspension and one year imprisonment against Mr. Feqri Qassim and Salah Adaqak and six months prevention from writing but with suspension and fined the newspaper an amount of 950.000 YR in the case filed by Taiz Finance Office manager, because Qasim and Adokak wrote articles exposing a senior government official in Taiz governorate for corruption, nepotism and misusing his powers
13. In 24/2/2006, the political Security detained Mr. Al Shalafi and Al Baidhani from Al Jaziera for two hours and half and confiscated the Video camera tape for covering the runaway of the Al Qaeda 23 members from the political security prison.
14. In 25/2/2006, 3 security persons have arrested Mr. Al Olafi of the Raei Al Aam who was brought to the criminal investigation center on the grounds of being wanted by the Press Attorney for republishing the Cartoons.
15. In 28/2/2006, Al Arabia correspondent, Mr. Hamoud Munasser, Mr. Mujeeb Suaileh were detained by the political security for four hours because of trying to photograph the political security building from which the 23-Alqaeda suspects had escaped.
16. In 11/3/2006, Mr. Qaed Atairi, a journalist of Al Thawri newspaper was abducted while walking to his work at the ministry of information. The unknown abductors, who were riding a four-wheel car, took Mr. Atairi with his eyes screened to the suburb of Sana’a where he was beaten up and tortured by electrical shock and thrown from the car.
17. In 12/3/2006, the South-capital Court has fined Al Thawri Editor, Khaled Salman, an amount of 500.000 YR and got unsuspended sentence of six months prevention from writing and fined the writer, Abdulrahman Al Ja’afri the amount of 150.000 YR in the case filed against the newspaper by the Taiz Finance office manager who was criticized by the newspaper, because he wrote article exposing a senior government official in Taiz governorate for corruption, nepotism and misusing his powers
18. In 15/3/2006, Mr. Mohammed Al Ja’amani, a journalist of Raei Al Aam newspaper, was beaten-up by the escorts of the head of Al Jabeen District, Raima governorate and robbed of his press card.
19. In 22/3/2006, the Editor of Al Wahdawi newspaper was summoned by the press attorney to be investigated in the case filed against the newspaper by the transport ministry for publishing a report criticizing the ministry and the case still hung up until now.
20. In 29/3/2006, the South-capital Court has fined Al Nehar newspaper an amount of 450.000 YR and suspended the editor, Mr. Shehab Al AAhdal, from work for 3 months and ordered him to publish an apology for the health minister for three consecutive issues on the grounds of insult and defamation of minister, Mr. Mohammed Al Noami and defaming the head of Al Thawra hospital, Mr. Ahmed Al Ansi. It is worth mentioning that the newspaper has published a report criticizing the hospital and the ministry of health and accusing it of negligence towards the kidney patients.
21. In 28/3/2006, Mr. Adel Ali Omer, the correspondent of Al Wahdawi newspaper was attacked by security police and beaten-up while covering teachers sit-in in Ibb city.
22. In 1/4/2006, journalist Mr. Abdulfattah Al-Hakimi was hospitalized for ten days for serious injuries. According to Mr. Al-Hakimi, this happened after he inhaled – as he said – what seems to be a poisonous substance that was sprayed on his car.. Mr. Al hakimi still suspended from working as vice board of director of 14th of October and prevented from getting his allowances and salary after series of criticism against the regime and the war in Sa’adah.
23. In 5/4/2006, unknown armed group has robbed the car of the editor of Al Dyar newspaper, Mr. Abed Al Mahdri, by force in front of his eyes. The armed group which used jeep car No.( 1/62537) has threatened him of assassination . Mr. Al Mahdri reported that it wasn’t the first time to be threatened since he wrote about the weapons trading.
24. In 10/4/2006, Mr. Aref Al Khaiwani, a journalist was arrested and beaten-up by the national security unit with no clear reason. It is worth mentioning that Mr. Al Khaiwani is suffering from psychic sickness as a result of long imprisonment at the Armed forces newspaper prison in 1997.
25. In 13/4/2006, unknown people using a land cruiser car model 95 carrying a government plate, chased and tried to tread the journalist Mahmoud Yassien. Before this unsuccessful attempt, Mr. Yassien was contacted by unknown person and threatened of smashing his head if he didn’t stop his critical writings.
26. 25/4/2006, the security forces has confiscated the periodical of al Tageer “The change” in Shabwa governorate and chased the editor, Mr. Ali Salem Bin Yahya and his colleague Shafeea’a Mohammed Al Abed for criticizing corruption in Shabwa.
27. In 26/4/2006, Asahwa net correspondent, Mr. Saleh al Suraimi, was arrested by the head of the security committee in the electoral center (b) in the capital Sana’a for half an hour and was interrogated after interviewing some voters about the registration process.
28. In 1/5/2006, Al Wahdawi editor, Mr. Ahmed Saeed Nasser was phoned by unknown person and threatened of murder in the coming few days.
29. In 2/5/2006, the writer Hussein Zaid bin Yahya, was threatened publicly by a member of Zengebar attorney in Abyan who threatened him of beat-up outside the court yard. This dispute came as a result of an article wrote by Mr. Bin Hussein criticizing a local council member of Zengebar district.
30. In 4/5/2006, the editor of Al Balagh, Mr. Abdullah Al Wazeer was detained for hours by the criminal investigation officers for publishing a report about an officer of the interior ministry. Al Wazeer was released after meditation of some high rank personalities who request the interior ministry to release him.
31. In 20/5/2006, the correspondent of Ashoura Net, Mr. Ahmed Aqeel was beaten up by the local administration minister and his escorts and the camera was taken and the film negative was destroyed by force. The incident happened while the journalist was covering the trial of one of the minister relatives which was taking place in Ibb.
32. In 27/5/2006, the Sana’a international airport authorities has confiscated the documents of the secretary general of the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate, Mr. Hafez Al Bukari and the editor of Al Wassat newspaper, Mr. Jamal Amer, after they were detained and inspected while returning home.
33. In 4/6/2006, the correspondent of Al Wahdawi newspaper in Dhalae, Mr. Abdurrahman Al Mohammedi, and 14th of October correspondent were beaten up by the head of the cleaning authority for criticizing the cleaning situation in the governorate.
34. In 11/6/2006, the editor of Al Wahdawi newspaper, Mr. Ali Assaqaf, was summoned by the press attorney to be investigated in the file suited against the newspaper by the public minerals authority after publishing a report about the corruption of the authority. The case was transferred to the South-Sana’a court and still under investigation up to know.
35. In 11/6/2006, the editor of Al Dyar newspaper, Mr. Abed Al Mahdari, was arrested by three political security officers during attending press conference in Movempick Hotel for distributing his newspaper to the attendants of the conference. He was released after a sit-in in the Hotel organized by his press colleagues who were attending the conference.
36. In 20/6/2006, some officers of the central security beaten up the correspondent of Al Neda newspaper, Mr. Awadh Kashmim, in front of the primary court of Haridha district in Hadramout for covering the process of transporting defendants of murder in Wadi Amed.
37. In 3/7/2006, the public attorney has issued an obligatory arrest against the Editor of Al Wahdawi, when they didn’t find him; they have arrested the managing editor who was released after a written commitment to bring his boss to the attorney.
38. In 10/7/2006, Al Distor newspaper publicly defamed the journalist Samiah Al Agbari after the late wrote an article criticizing the regime. It was widely believed that Al Distor newspaper is financed by the security bureaus to defame journalists.
39. In 11/7/2006, the press attorney summoned the editor of Al Nehar newspaper in the case filed by the violations court in Aden for insulting judiciary as he criticized unfair judiciary verdict issued by that court. The case still hanging-up up to now.
40. In 18/7/2006, the West capital court has sentenced the editor of Al Thawri newspaper to be suspended as an editor for one year and stopped Mr. Naif Hassan from writing for one year and they fined an amount of 1000.000 YR for offending the defense ministry.
41. In 20/7/2006, the West capital court has sentenced the editor of Al Wahdawi newspaper to six month suspension of writing and to pay a 1000.000 YR fine for publishing news story reporting the corruption of the republican guards in Dammar city who captured a land owned by some citizens of Dammar.
42. Late in July, the editor of Ashoura net, Mr. Al Khaiwani, was summoned by the press attorney to look into the case filed by the defense ministry after the website published a news story about the intention of the Yemeni government to return Al badeea airport to Saudi authorities. The case was transferred to the specialized court for trial.
43. early in August, Mr. Al Khaiwani, was also summoned by the press attorney to look into the case filed by the armed forces unit after publishing a list of names of people who didn’t settle their doubts to the national bank and caused its bankruptcy.
44. In 5/8/2006, Mr. Ahmed Al Qershi, a writer in Asahwa newspaper was attacked and offended by the guards of the GPC permanent committee gate and his notes were torn to pieces while covering soldiers’ sit-in who were seeking political forgiveness after the local war of 1994.
45. In 14/8/2006, the journalist, Qaid Darban, was arrested and imprisoned for hours in Dhalae after writing an article in Al Ayam newspaper criticizing the situation in the governorate.
46. In 6/9/2006, the editor of Al Aassema newspaper, Mr. Khaled Al Alwani, was summoned by the press attorney in the case filed against him by the Supreme commission for Election and Referenda (SCER), and the GPC for offending the president and the deceiving the voters after he published an article welcoming the opposition parties’ candidate.
47. In 7/9/2006, the journalist of Al Ayam newspaper, Mr. Abdulhafez Mua’ajeb was detained by Amran security after covering the rally of the Joint Meeting Parties’ candidate, Bin Shamlan. Mua’ajeb was detained for an hour and half and threatened of cutting his tongue.
48. In 9/9/2006, Al Majed printing house, where Al Assema and Asahwa newspapers print, was attacked by the security forces and closed for three days without any legal authorizations on the grounds of printing promotional materials for the opposition presidential candidates.
49. In 13/9/2006, AL NASS PRESS website was screened by the ministry of telecommunication for 11 days preventing it from publishing the results of the presidential elections.
50. In 15/9/2006, the head of the information center for protecting press freedoms, Mr. Mohammed Sadiq Al Odaini, was sentenced by Al Odain primary court to three years imprisonment and to pay a fine of 1200.000 YR. the verdict was issued without the presence of Al Odaini or being informed. The sentence came after series of critical articles Al Odaini wrote in criticism of some influential officials at AL Ga’ashen district.
51. In 17/9/2006, 1000 copies of the Atageer paper were confiscated in Aden by the security forces and prevented from interning the city. The paper belongs to the women sector of the Joint Meeting Parties.
52. In 18/9/2006, female writer, Rashida Al Qaili, threatened of murder through a telephone call by unknown person after criticizing the president of republic. Later, she discovered that caller was senior official at the armed forces.
53. In 18/9/2006, the Yemeni government has screened many press E-websites like; the Yemeni Council, Yemen Voice, Hewar/dialogue website, and the independent forum 2 days ahead of the elections. These website were unscreened after announcing the results of the elections.
54. 24/9/2006, the SCER and the Telecommunication ministry have suspended the SMS news service of Bela Qeuood net which was resumed again in 17/10 after the announcement of the elections’ results.
55. In 16/10/2006, the publisher of the “independent” newspaper, Mr. Ahmed Saif Hashed, who is also a member of the parliament, was detained at the political security premises and was reviled for photographing the premises of the political security by one of the journalists in his newspaper when a human right activist, Ali Adailami, was arrested by the authorities.
56. In 15/11/2006, the journalist Khaled Dalaq, was attacked by commander of an army vehicle plate No. (5487) as he was claiming his wages from the Army forces newspaper where he used to work and got fired in a previous violation exercised against him in the past.
57. In 18/11/2006, the editor of AL Thawri, sought a political asylum to London after the 14 case filed against him by the judiciary and advised not to come back if he wants to be alive, a senior officer advised him..
58. In 25/11/2006, the Editor of Al Rae Al Aam, Kamal Al Olafi, was sentenced by the west-capital court, to a full year imprisonment and closure of the newspaper for six months and preventing from writing in the case of republishing the Cartoons. The newspaper was sealed in 2/12.
59. In 26/11/2006, the Editor of Al Wassat newspaper was defamed by the official newspaper, Al Thawra, and accused of intrigue and betraying the country for the interest of a foreign body. Such accusations were understood as a clear instigation to attack him by authorities like what happened in last year when he was kidnapped after similar instigation.
60. In 26/11/2006, Mr. Abdul Hameed Ashara’abi, journalist at Saba’a News Agency, was threatened of murder through telephone call number (04/257427) after writing an article criticizing a primary court in Shara’ab, Taiz.
61. In 22/11/2006, Mr. Ahmed Ashalafi, of al Jazeira, was attacked along with his team by an officer of the interior ministry while preparing a reportage about Qat in Yemen on the grounds that this topic is defaming the image of Yemen and threatened them of breaking the camera is they continue filming.
62. In 28/11/2006, the journalist, Anis Mansoor working for Al Ayam newspaper, was attacked in Qubaita, Lahj, and his camera was confiscated the criminal investigation police after covering the protest organized by some members of Aram association.
63. In 6/12/2006, the west-capital court has fined the editor of the Yemen Observer, Mohamed Al Asa’adi, an amount of 500.000 YR in the case of republishing the cartoons.
64. In 9/12/2006, the editor of Ashoura net was detained at the Sana’a airport, for three hours and was prevented from traveling to morocco on the grounds that he was in the list of travel ban.
65. In 13/12/2006, the south-east capital court has sentenced Akram Sabrah of Al Hurriah newspaper along with the writer Yahya Al Abed to four months imprisonment and closure of the newspaper for one month with suspension for republishing the cartoons.
66. In 24/12/2006, the editor of the Al Nehar newspaper, Shehab Al Ahdal, was summoned by the press attorney for the case filed against him by the higher judiciary council after the newspaper published a news story about the execution of young person who was underage.
67. In 25/11/2006, Mr. Abdulhafeedh Al Nehari, the Asahwa newspaper correspondent in Hodieda was called and threatened by unknown person, mobile number (711598481) many times that he will be murdered and the same with his wife who was called by the same number. This comes after the journalist reported about horrible torturing case at Sheikh Al Fasheq house.

Finally, we confirm again there are many violations cases against journalists we have excluded from this report because it weren’t because of opinion and we have stated only opinion cases. An example of violation of right is what was committed against our colleague Mr. Abdulhadi Naji, a correspondent of Al Ayam newspaper in 25/11/2006 when he was kidnapped from Taiz governorate and was quickly trialed in Aden for a financial dispute between him and the management of his newspaper. This case is an evidential example of human right violation conducted by the official authorities as being kidnapped and illegally detained without appointing a lawyer for him and he was fined 5000.000 YR and jailed for 2 years.
Women Journalists Without Chains has announced our solidarity with him and we will be denouncing what happened for Mr. Naji although we haven’t included his case in the report.

Suspended Cases

§ The premises of Ashoura and Sout Ashoura newspapers still occupied by armed forces since the year 2005 when they attacked the newspapers and dismissed the staff and journalists. The ministry of information still rejecting to reissue the license for reopening the two newspapers and the interior ministry refused to handover the premises back to the owners.
§ The journalists, Khaled Dallaq, Fawzi Al Kaheli, Mohammed Al Muta’a and Aref Al Khaiwani, who used to work with the 26 th of September newspaper and got arbitrarily fired, still demanding their wages which varied between 10 to 30 years of work allowances with the newspaper. The responsible bodies at the newspaper refused to pay them or even to look into the issue.
§ Up to now, the people who stabbed and opened fire on the Journalist Nabeel Subae in 12/11/2006 are still free and the interior ministry did nothing to bring them to justice despite the requests and the demands presented to the ministry to arrest the escapees.
§ In 26/8/2006, the Associated Press office, the APTN TV, and Al Neda newspaper were robbed. The Neda was robbed of all the properties like computes, faxes and the video cameras and security forces couldn’t do anything to arrest the robbers up to now.
§ The journalist Jamal Amer, the editor of Al Wassat newspaper still demanding the investigation with his kidnappers who had kidnapped him and beaten-him up in 22/5/2006. Although the ministry of interior was informed about the incident and given the details of the armed kidnappers, but it didn’t do any action to arrest them.
§ The managing editor of Al Nehar newspaper, Hajae Al Jahafi, still appealing to the security forces to investigate and take actions in his case when unknown person send him an explosive envelope which was exploded to his face in 17/7/2006, his demands were in vein.
§ The complaint of the journalists Rahma Hujaira, and her husband, journalist Hafez Al Bukari, in the case filed against Al Belad newspaper still in front of the Press Attorney which refused to transfer it to the court. It is worth mentioning that Al Belad newspaper, which offended and defamed Mrs. Hujaira, is believed to be allied with and financed by state-security bodies to slander and defame journalists.

January, 2007.


** — ** — ** — ** — ** — ** — ** — **

Women Journalists Without Chains(WJWC)
Tawakkol A- Karman
President
Tel +967 1 210543/532788
Fax +967 1 210 523
Mob +967 712020010
www.womenpress.net
www.bilakoyood.net
P.O.BOX Yemen,Sana’a12702Haiel Street Mazaya

2 Comments

1

Pingback by Welcome NOLA.com Readers: (You have mail.) A letter to New Orleans from Yemen | Armies of Liberation

5/23/2008 @ 6:54 am

[...] Ms. Karman’s many accomplishments is the production of the Semi-Annual Press Freedom Report which showed an uptick in assaults on Yemeni journalists with 53 recorded in 2005 and 69 in 2006. [...]

2

Pingback by Yemen’s Activist Tawwakol Karman wins Nobel Peace Prize | Armies of Liberation

10/7/2011 @ 6:40 am

[...] Ms. Karman’s many accomplishments is the production of the Semi-Annual Press Freedom Report which showed an uptick in assaults on Yemeni journalists with 53 recorded in 2005 and 69 in 2006. [...]

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