Al-Khiwani still imprisonedProtests mount [Archives:2004/776/Front Page]

September 27 2004

Mohammed bin Sallam
The Press Training and Freedoms Protection Center is continuing its campaign to collect signatures calling for respect of citizenship rights and journalistic freedoms. It aims to collect 100,000 signatures of intellectuals, human rights and legal activists, attached to a condemnatory statement.
The center requested Yemeni authorities, headed by President Saleh, to immediately intervene to release Abdulkarim Al-Khiwani, editor-in-chief of Al-Shura Newspaper. They also asked for the abolition of the imprisonment penalty for on journalists, the removal of law statements that hinder and control journalistic activity, and the cessation of censorship by the Ministry of Information.
The center urged the President to give complete judicial authority to the Judiciary system so that it becomes independent, and has ultimate power over other authorities. It also demanded that the Political Security and special security bodies operate within the framework of the law, and people involved in attacking or harassing journalists be tried.
The Center, chaired by journalist Mohammed Al-Udaini, asked the government to fulfill its commitments towards the international human rights conventions it has ratified, and redress the mistreatment of journalist Abdulkarim Al-Khaiwani, in order to achieve justice, protect human dignity, and safeguard democracy and press freedom.
Yemeni Journalists staged a sit-in before the Parliament Hall in protest against the imprisonment of Al-Khaiwani, and the ban on Al-Shura Newspaper. They prompted MPs to support truth, law, and constitutional legitimacy.
“What has befallen Al-Khaiwani and Al-Shura does not relate to law, but rather harms the freedom of expression,” said the Yemeni Journalistic Syndicate's letter which was sent to Parliament.
The journalists added that the stance of the Parliament would not concern only Al-Khiwani and Al-Shura, but also the whole country, which seeks stability and security. They had also shown their concern over violations that are unjust and damaging to citizens' rights.
The letter continued: “A country lacking freedom of expression, and construction, a country in which violations are practiced against citizens, and laws are flouted, would be a lost country.”
Yemeni journalists have been staging their sit-in at the headquarters of the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate (YJS) since September 6th, protesting the imprisonment of Al-Khiwani. The solidarity committee, however, sees that acts of protest should be accelerated further.
The staff of Al-Shura said the prosecution's and the court's deliberate delay of trial procedures aims at keeping Al-Khiwani imprisoned for as much time as possible. The staff added that the detention may jeopardize Al-Khiwani's life since he suffers from heart trouble. They called on all honest people and human right activists to exert pressure on the government to release him, and give him access to his constitutional rights.