Al-Shura gets support [Archives:2004/769/Front Page]

September 2 2004
Photo from archived article: photos/769/front1_1
Photo from archived article: photos/769/front1_1
Mohammed bin Sallam
A meeting was held Tuesday August 31st at the headquarters of the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate (YJS) to support Al-Shura Weekly which faces trial that violates constitution.
The meeting, attended by prominent politicians and journalists, agreed to support Al-Shura as a symbol of defending journalistic liberties and freedom of expression.
The supporters also agreed to attend the session passing the sentence on Al-Shura, on Wednesday, at the Western Court. The supporters are expected to march in protest at the probable prison sentence against Abdul-Karim Al-Khiwani, Al-Shura's editor-in-chief, and other unjust sentences against the newspaper which are damaging to the idea of freedom in Yemen.
The Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) have released a statement after an emergency meeting on August 29th, in which they discussed the trial of Al-Shura, and accompanying judicial procedures, that led to the withdrawal of the lawyers in Saturday's session, when the court refused to consider the defense's argument that it is not legal for the court to look into the case during the judicial holiday.
The JMP denounced and condemned infringements of law by the court.
“Denouncing the violations of the legal procedures in the trial of Al-Shura Weekly, and protesting against the influence of the executive authority over the judicial authority, the JMP is asking for a cessation of the harassment of those who exercise their freedom of expression, and consider any illegal act as a stark breach of justice and the authority of law. What is happening confirms the importance of the opposition's call for separating the three authorities,” the statement read.
It concluded saying: “the trial of Al-Shura shows the disrespect for constitutional and legal rights and liberties. This reinforces the totalitarian policy of confiscating liberties, concealed only by the thin veil of democracy that gradually fades.”
The YJS released a statement on August 28th that strongly condemned what it called “false procedures” that targeted colleague Abdul-Karim Al-Khiwani and Al-Shura Newspaper. It stressed its absolute rejection of this manner that flouts constitution, law, commonsense, and logic.
The statement urged the judicial authority to adhere to its constitutional role by means of honesty, independence, and the provision of all constitutional guarantees for Al-Khiwani.
It also called on human rights organizations to support Al-Shura Newspaper, and its editor-in-chief, so as to boost journalistic freedom.
Meanwhile, Al-Shura has issued a press statement that included its account of the reasons that prompted the government to sue it and Al-Khiwani.
“Al-Shura has been facing, for several months, a campaign led by great personalities in the authority for its tackling public issues and opposing the erroneous policies of the government in many fields. The stance of Al-Shura has coaxed the campaign yet further to reach the point of misusing the judicial authority for the sake of gagging Al-Shura, and putting an end to its mission,” the statement said.
The statement added: “the trial of Al-Shura, which began before this month, has revealed a premeditated intention to shut the mouth of Al-Shura under many different pretexts which brought the newspaper and its editor-in-chief to court many times, when courts are actually, under a ministerial decree, on holiday.
“The continuation of the trial in the judicial holiday is itself a violation of law which the judicial authority is claiming to uphold. The trial and its procedures have shown the relationship between the executive and judicial authorities, which is based on the subservience of the latter to the former.
“the court and the judge have demonstrated the influence of their directives when they set the session of sentencing for next Wednesday, after the court refused to consider the defense of Al-Shura, which said that the court was not authorized to look into the case. The defense withdrew on Saturday, and justice was vanquished when the judge accompanied the prosecution out of the courtroom at the request of the latter, and then reentered to read out the verdict to the astonishment of legal personnel and the public.”
The statement elaborated: “what Al-Shura faces heralds an orientation to limit the democratic margin and journalistic freedom, which are the remains of a system that claims to be based on democracy and freedom of expression.”
At the end of the statement, Al-Shura expressed its rejection and condemnation of the harassing procedures, and called on all the lively forces inside and outside the country to condemn and reject the harassment and restriction of journalistic freedom in Yemen.
“The support is not for Al-Shura only. It is for the freedom of journalism and expression, which the government attempts to bury alive, as it does, it buries the dreams of Yemenis who are sunk in endless crisis,” the statement concluded.