Al-Qarni finally released [Archives:2008/1191/Local News]

September 18 2008

By: Almigdad Mojalli
SANA'A, Sept. 16 ) Yemeni comedian Fahd Al-Qarni was released last Tuesday from prison after being held for two days following his refusal to sign a commitment to end his politically ridden performances.The document was presented to him, by Governor of Taiz Hamoud Al-Soufi, as part of the presidential order last Thursday to abolish the judiciary decision against him. Al-Qarni refused to sign any document renouncing his political performances.

Al-Qarni stated that he informed the governor of his absolute rejection to drop political rights guaranteed to him by the constitution. “I informed the governor that I would not bow to his request, and that prison was better for me than apologizing or agreeing to his conditions,” he said.

Al-Qarni expressed his readiness to execute any tasks the Islamic opposition party Islah, which he is affiliated with, assigns him. He also called upon the security authorities to release the journalist Abdulkarim Al-Khaiwani.

Ali Mohammed Al-Mansoub, a member of the defendant board, considered the release of Al-Qarni a step in the right direction towards normalizing political life and rehabilitating constitutional laws. “We hope that further steps will follow toward respecting the rights of the people,” Al-Mansoub said. “I was sure since the beginning that the accusation against the comedian Fahd Al-Qarni was a clear violation of the law and obvious evidence of military and criminal accusations against a peaceful person,” he added.

The political security department detained Al-Qarni six months ago after his participation in one of the public gathering of the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) in Aden.

He was sentenced to one and a half years in prison, fined YR 500,000 and ordered to hand over the recordings of all his productions. In addition, Al-Qarni would was released on bail on the condition that he would not reproduce any of his work.

Al-Qarni had also been previously been jailed in July 2006, when officers affiliated to the Criminal Investigations Bureau arrested a group of individuals, accusing them of selling a popular cassette entitled Shabi'een (Fed Up), which was made by Al-Qarni.

Making use of folk compositions in a humorous and sarcastic manner, Al-Qarni is known to bitterly criticize government policies.