Al-Tagamou Weekly suspended & Thabet taken to jail again:Attacks on the press continue [Archives:2004/727/Front Page]

April 8 2004

Mohammed Al-Qadhi
The London-based Arab Press Freedom Watch (APFW) condemned the deputy prosecutor of the Sana'a Southern prosecution order of arrest of journalist Saeed Thabet, first deputy of the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate (YJS) inside the court hall.
Deputy prosecutor Mohammed al-Himairi ordered the arrest of Thabet after he asked for his mobile charger. Thabet was taken to the room of the deputy prosecutor after the court judge listened to the last hearing and decided that the verdict in the case would be passed Tuesday, April 13.
The intelligence agents kidnapped Thabet from the street March 5th on charges of “spreading false information” on the thwarted assassination attempt against Colonel Ahmad Ali Abdullah Saleh, Commander of the Republican Guard and Special Tasks Forces. Thabet, correspondent of the London-based Quds Press agency was put in custody for 72 hours. His mobile was taken as evidence of his “crime”.
This behavior on the part of the deputy prosecutor astonished the audience, journalists and lawyer who refused to leave the court room before Thabet is set free. The court judge was informed of the case and he ordered that Thabet should be set free.
Representatives of global pro-freedom organization Amnesty International witnessed the court hearing.
The YJS condemned in a press statement the behavior of the prosecution, considering his action as a violation against press freedom. It demanded that all NGOs and journalists should express their solidarity with Thabet and condemn the behavior of the deputy prosecutor, which “damages the reputation of the democratic experience in the country.”
Thabet expressed his anger and told Yemen Times that “this behavior should not go unpunished as the deputy prosecutor does not have the right to issue orders of arrest; he is a part of the problem for which we are in court.”
On the other hand, the al-Tagamou Weekly was suspended by the ministry of information as the printing press of al-Jeel told the editors of the paper that the ministry of information ordered them orally not to print the paper that comes every Monday. However, the deputy minister of information Mohammed Shaher denied that his ministry ordered the suspension of the paper. He said that there might be technical problems behind the suspension and some measures that the people in charge of the paper did not complete, pointing out that they did not fulfill the procedures the ministry asked them to do.
However, Secretary Editor of the paper issued by al-Tagamou al-Wahdawi opposition party said that they were not informed by the ministry that the paper was suspended. However, Yemen Times learnt that the ministry of information received a complaint from the Saudi embassy in Sana'a against the paper for criticizing the measures by the Saudi authorities against those educated reformers in the kingdom. Nabeel Subai'e wrote last week an article in the last page of al-Tagamou entitled “the Terrorist Kingdom” in which he strongly criticized imprisonment of some reformists in Saudi Arabia.