Al-Thawri editor and reporter face tough sentences [Archives:2006/965/Front Page]

July 20 2006

SANA'A, July 18 ) As part of a series of tough sentences against media, the Capital's Southwest Court banned Al-Thawri weekly Editor-in-Chief Khalid Salman from occupying the highest post of any newspaper for one year.

The court also suspended Al-Thawri reporter Nayef Hassan from working for one year, beginning from the verdict's date. Sued by Press and Publication Prosecution and the Ministry of Defense, the two journalists also were fined YR 5,000 each.

In a statement, Al-Thawri's defense team expressed concern over the ruling, labeling it “unfair” and saying it violates constitutional provisions and laws.

The statement confirmed that the case has just begun, as the court held only one hearing in the absence of the Defense Ministry's lawyer, which caused the trial to be adjourned to another time.

No trial was held due to the judge suspending court hearings in protest against an attack he was subjected to while discussing another case. According to Al-Thawri's statement, the judge had to set another time for the case and ordered Prosecution to announce the parties involved in the case, but such hasn't happened.

“After five months, we're shocked to hear the verdict via the newspapers,” the statement read.

Regarding the ban on Salman, the statement noted, “Such a verdict should have been issued by administrative bodies instead of the judiciary, as the latter usually prevents any journalist from working without specifying the post.”

Al-Thawri's defense team confirmed that it will appeal the verdict, urging concerned parties and human rights groups to stand in solidarity with the newspaper, which has faced more than 12 verdicts during the year.

Salman considered the court's verdict to be part of a curfew on journalism and said, “[This is] evidence of the judiciary being controlled by the executive and security authorities.”

Nasr Taha Mustafa, the new president of Yemeni Journalists Syndicate (YJS), said that he did not know about the case of Salman and Hassan and that he plans to discuss the case at the upcoming meeting of the YJS council, Al-Shoura Net reported.