Al-Sahwa [Archives:2008/1164/Press Review]

June 16 2008

Thursday, June 12, 2008
Top Stories

– Islah Party leader: Election is part of multi-dimensional crisis

– Hood director calls on journalists to elect Al-Khaiwani YJS President

– Dengue fever infections on the rise in Shabwa governorate

– Human rights groups concerned about Al-Khaiwani's jailing

Many Yemeni and International organizations, journalists and activists strongly condemned a six-year jail sentence issued on Monday against an outspoken journalist Abdul-Karim Al-Khawani, who was shortly arrested in the wake of issuing the sentence, the weekly reported. It added that Al-Khaiwani, a former editor- in-chief of the banned Al-Shoura newspaper, was accused of involvement in an armed gang, propagating pro-Houthi publications and inciting violence against the government.

The Yemeni Journalist Syndicate (YJS) condemned the sentence, describing it as devastating to press freedom. In the meantime, the syndicate demanded that the court immediately release Al-Khaiwani and called on all human rights organizations to stand by Al-Khaiwani and press the government to stop violating press freedoms.

Deputy President of YJS Saeed Thabit Saeed said that this sentence is tough, demanding the appeal court to revoke it since Al-Khaiwani is innocent. The US State Department condemned the jailing of Al-Khaiwani, saying it points to a “distressing trend” in which Yemeni courts muzzle independent media.

The Yemen-based Media Women Forum strongly condemned the ruling, saying it was politically motivated. The forum appealed to all Arab and international bodies to press on Yemen's authorities in order to annul the verdict, urging local organizations to hold a meeting at once and see how to rescue the jailed journalist.

The forum further affirmed that the court verdict hurts the fledging democracy Yemen's president boasts of as the best achievement in Yemen, stressing that this verdict bodes ill for the future of democracy and freedom of expression and hoped that the President helps put a stop to violations practiced against Al-Khaiwani.

For its part, Amnesty International slammed the jailing of Al-Khaiwani in Yemen just days before an event in London at which the journalist is in line for a human rights media award.