Al-Khaiwani and Zeid targeted Assaults against opposition party leaders [Archives:2004/779/Front Page]

October 7 2004

Last week, two prominent politicians/journalists, who are members of political parties belonging to the “Political Rendezvous”, a coalition of opposition parties, were reportedly subject to physical assault in different separate circumstances. However, both attacks were said to be more likely politically motivated. The first was an attempted assault on the imprisoned journalist Abdul-Karim Al-Khaiwani, Editor-in-Chief of Al-Shoura Newspaper, who was sentenced to a year in prison and the closure of Al-Shoura for a year mid last month, in the Central Prison in Sana'a on last Saturday. A fellow convicted “inmate” (for murder) was said to have attempted on three occasions, last Saturday to assault Al-Khaiwani, without any apparent reason, but was successfully prevented from harming the journalist by the other inmates in the prison.
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Al-Khaiwani is a member or the Popular Forces Party, a moderate religious party, and the Chief Editor of its mouthpiece Al-Shoura. Al-Khaiwani and the Al-Shoura were charged with sympathy for the late Hussein Badr Al-Din Al-Houthi, the Shiite religious leader, who was embroiled in a two and a half month confrontation with Government forces in Sa'ada Governorate which ended with the killing of Al-Houthi some three weeks ago in his last cavern hideout in Mirran Mountains north of Sa'ada. The PFP and Al-Shoura claim however that the sentence was a violation of the freedom of the press, guaranteed by the Constitution of Yemen and for the editor's opinions about the presidency. According to Al-Balagh Newspaper, there have been many expressions of concern for Al-Khaiwani, who is deliberately being placed among convicted criminals, with a view towards exposing him to danger.
On another note, Al-Balagh reported on the same issue of Tuesday, 5 October that another leading political figure in the opposition, writer and educator was also assaulted last Monday, October 4, by five men in civilian outfits at the Yarmouk Gasoline Station in Tunis Street in Sana'a. The victim, Hassan Mohammed Zeid is the Chief of the Political Bureau of the Al-Haq Party, another moderate religious party. The five men took Mr. Zeid out of his car, which was blocked by a waiting car as he came out of the station. One of the attackers kept hitting Mr. Zeid in the face, while the rest of the attackers went on to break all the glass in his car. The attackers then quickly ran off on a taxi sedan. The attack was reported to the Al-Himyari police precinct. The Al-Haq Party denounced this attack and its perpetrators and those who incited the attack and held the security organs responsible for fully investigating the assault. The attacks, said the party press release was a deliberate attack endangering democracy, social peace and security and regarded the targeting of Mr. Zeid as implicitly targeting the Al-Haq Party. Both the PFP and Al-Haq are suspected of having Zeidi Shiite inclinations and have been exposed to heavy media attacks and threats of dissolution by some official press organs. Both parties regard all this enmity against them as really an effort to further reduce the marginal democracy that is still superficially allowed to exist in Yemen and to clamp down on all forms of opposing opinions.