Al-Sahwa [Archives:2008/1178/Press Review]

August 4 2008

Thursday, July 31, 2008
Top Stories

– Security authorities arrest tens of Bani Dhabian tribesmen over kidnapping of Khamri's son

– Parliament's report demands investigating Commander of Abyan-based Central Security Forces

– Appeals Court refuses to released detained journalist Abdulkarim Al-Khaiwani

A Sana'a appeals court refused on Tuesday to release journalist Abdulkarim Al-Khaiwani along with other 14 suspects charged with forming an armed group to attack country's interests and support rebels in Sa'ada, north of Yemen, the website reported. It added that The Court of Appeals delayed the case to October.

The website quoted Reuters News Agency as saying that the court put off looking into the demand for the release of Al-Khaiwani until the defence team presents its arguments at the next hearing on November 9, presiding judge Mohammad Al-Hakimi said.

Al-Khaiwani, who was jailed for six years, was one of 12 people handed prison terms of one to 10 years by a court in Sanaa on June 9 after they were convicted of forming an armed group and killing two security officers in support of Zaidi Shiite rebels.

Tuesday's hearing was the first after defence lawyers appealed against the verdicts. A 13th defendant in the case was sentenced to death. One of two women in the group of 15 was acquitted. The prosecution is appealing against the acquittal.

Defence lawyers are asking that the sentences be quashed, arguing that there was no evidence the defendants had agreed to form an armed group.

Lawyer Nabil Al-Mohammadi, who heads Al-Khaiwani's defence team, also called for his release, saying the original sentence did not provide for immediate implementation of the prison term.

During the trial, defence lawyers rejected charges that Al-Khaiwani backed the rebels. They said CDs and other material about the insurgents found in his possession was needed for his work as a journalist.

The US State Department condemned the jailing of Al-Khaiwani, editor of the Zaidi weekly Al-Shura, saying it pointed to a “distressing trend” in which Yemeni courts muzzle independent media.