Al-Shoura Newspaper Still Resisting [Archives:1999/40/Front Page]

October 4 1999

SANAA: Despite the closure of Al-Shoura Newspaper that was closed down last month by a judicial verdict, the newspaper is still publishing small brochure size publications. Through these publication, they are pleading for support from all who care for democracy and the future of the country. The Al-Shoura Newspaper is the mouthpiece of the Popular Forces Union Party. Several newspapers have shown disappointment at the verdict, and the people who used to read the paper see the only hope in their president to release it and enable it to express its views in a reasonable manner without exceeding its limits. 
At the office of the Al-Shoura newspaper, there was a meeting held to discuss the decision of the Ministry of Information concerning the suspension of the Al-Shoura. The meeting was held in the presence of some members of the Opposition Coordination Council and a number of politicians and writers on Wednesday 29, 1999. 
The meeting concentrated on the decision of the Ministry of Information to stop publication of the Al-Shoura newspaper. They also discussed the danger to the future of democracy. 
Mr. Tariq Al-Ashwal, the vice-secretary general of the People’s Confederation Forces initiated the deliberation of the meeting focusing on the dangerous consciences of these decisions, which contravene the constitution and the law. 
Mr. Jarallah Omar, Chairman of the political department in the Yemeni Socialist Party delivered a short meaningful speech by saying: ” I believe that this matter is a political affair to protect freedom of opinions, so the activity should not stop at this point.” he called upon everyone to join hands to promote democratic values by strengthening the voice protest through the participation of students, syndicates and associations. From his own side, Mr. Abdulbari Taha urged upon the national press to take a serious note of this development. 
Mr. Hassan Abdulwarith endorsed the sentiment expressed by saying: “the syndicate has showed its own opinion towards the Al-Shoura suspension, but the report has not been published yet”. He said that the Ministry of Information took this decision in the name of law; but in fact it aims at subverting the freedom of the press and the journalists. He also indicated that there are procedures which are recently initiated to refer this problem to judgment. Mrs. Rashida Al-Keel saw that it is better to organize a demonstration and to sit-down at the Ministry of Information, while Mr. Ahmed Al-Sofei suggested that they should move to Sana’a university to organize a big congregation of students there. 
Lawyer Mohammed Al-Mikhlafi expressed his sympathy on this matter. He said that as he pledged his solidarity with the Al-Shoura, he at the same time, declares his solidarity with judgment in favor of independence. As, Mr. Mohammed Al-Makaleh said the Al-Shoura newspaper has proved since the end of the war in 1994 till now that it is the first newspaper which left no stone upturned for defiance about Unity and democracy. 
Along with these meetings, a number of governorates organized during last two days solidarity meetings to support the Al-Shoura in which they all requested for revoking these oppressive procedures against the Al-Shoura newspaper. The branch of the Opposition Coordination Council in Aden organized a meeting on September 25, 99 to deal with this problem. A number of journalist and cultured people attended the meeting. Unequivocally expressed their protest against this decision, and unanimously resolved that it was a dangerous matter which aimed at narrowing the informative and political net work of Al-Shoura in particular and of the opposition parties in general. 
In Taiz a meeting was held in the presence of some civic social associations, syndicates, unions, human associations and a number of political and social personalities. This meeting reviewed the procedures leading to the suspension of Al-Shoura. They strongly felt that this decision was dangerous violation of the constitution, and showed the mutilation of democratic norms and infringement of human rights. It would, they felt, encourage incidence of corruption. They called all humanitarian associations to condemn these oppressions. 
There was another meeting on Tuesday September 28, 99 in Al-Dale governorate. It protested against the arbitrary procedures against Al-Shoura. They said that this decision went beyond the legal limits of the press liberty. They appealed to the authority to develop the promote and facilitate democratic processes which gives right to every one to express his own opinion. 
The solidarity meetings were conducted in most of the governorates of the Republic. For example, the solidarity meeting which took place on Sept. 28th 1999, in Al-Turbah, Taiz, expressed its condemnation for this aggressive practice which affected the reputation of democracy in our country, and doubted the real credibility of t he government’s intention to protect democracy and personal liberties. 
There was a number of journalists, cultured and writers who expressed their opinions on this matter. Faris Al-Saqqaf said that the attack on the Al-Shoura meant an attack on their liberties. Writer, Qadri Ahmad Haider said :” We shouldn’t only defend the Al-Shoura, but we should defend our personal rights as well.” He reviewed the suspension of the Al-Shoura as a dangerous phenomenon which threaten the human rights. 
Journalist Hafedh Al-Bakari, Okaz newspaper’s correspondent requested the newspapers of the Opposition Coordination Council to support the Al-Shoura by issuing additional supplements which focused on the Al-Shoura. 
A short talk was delivered by Mr. Nasser Taha Mostafa who said what happened was a sordid affair. he suggested that efforts should be made through peaceful means to put an end to these violations. A committee was formed an d consisted of Mr. Mohammed Al-Robai, Mr. Abdubari Taha, Mr. Nasser Taha Mostafa, Mrs. Rashidah Al- Keel, Dr. Mohammed Al-Mikhlafi and Dr. Faris Al-Saqqaf. This committee would hold a meeting every week in the Bureau of the Al-Shoura to deal with the new updates an d take the possible steps on this matter. 
At the end of the meeting, all assembled near the building of the Al-Shoura expressing their protests against the suspension decision.