Al-Wahdawi [Archives:2008/1164/Press Review]

June 16 2008

Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Top Stories

– During a meeting with President Saleh, JMP leaders confirm dealing with elections as an integrated system

– Popular demands for government to suggest mechanism for distributing wheat donated by UAE to Yemeni citizens

– Hood: State Security Court is illegal

– CTPJF condemns court verdict against Al-Khaiwani

Center for Training & Protecting Journalistic Freedoms (CTPJF) strongly condemned a verdict issued by the State Security Court against the reputed journalist Abdulkarim Al-Khaiwani sentencing him to six years in jail, the website reported in its lead story. In a statement, of which a copy was obtained by the, the center denounced the verdict describing it as 'political' and saying it provides clear evidence of Yemen's judiciary that lacks independence and neutrality.

According to CTPJF, Editor-in-Chief of Al-Shoura Weekly faced trial in an unconstitutional and illegal court. The center pressed the relevant authorities in the government to annul these unconstitutional courts that may take Yemen back to the reign of totalitarianism.

It called on all civil society organizations and human rights groups, as well as political forces, to establish a popular body to defend press freedom and resist Yemen's political courts. The court falsely accused Al-Khaiwani of involvement in an armed band, distributing publications in support of Abdulmalik Al-Houthi and his loyalists, who are clashing with the army, and instigating violence against the state.

Security authorities arrested the journalist just as the court issued a verdict sentencing him to six years in prison. The victim was then taken to the Sana'a-based Central Prison along with other 14 suspects the government accuses of composing a terrorist cell backing Houthis in their fight with the army.

The court's verdict was harshly criticized by many human rights activists and journalists who demanded it abolished. They described it as 'unfair', saying it represents a new violation of press freedom in Yemen.