Amnesty International issues an appeal for the release of Al-Khaiwani [Archives:2005/812/Local News]

January 31 2005

Amnesty Internatioanl, the international advocate for political opponents or common citizens who have been mistreated by their own or other governments for the political beliefs they harbor or for no reasons at all, or in violation of their civil and human rights, made an international public appeal for the release of Abdul-Karim Al-Khaiwani, Editor-in-Chief of the Al-Shoura Newspaper, the mouthpiece of the United Popular Forces party. In its article containing the appeal, issued in the February issue of Wire, which the Yemen Times got an advance copy of a background of the case was given, indicating that Mr. Khaiwani was arrested and tried without proper due process and was subjected to intimidation and harassment and roughing up in jail. Al-Khhaiwani was alleged to have supported Al-Houthi and made some frank editorial comment vis a vis the ruling authorities. For this Al-Khaiwani was sentenced to a year in prison and his newspaper was shut down for six months. The case has aroused widespread condemnation from local and international human rights watch-dog organizations and has caused most independent Yemeni journalists to seek his release, including staging a demonstration in front of the President of the Republic, Ali Abdulla Saleh.

AI believes that Mr. Al-Khaiwani is subject to undue excessive treatment by the Government for his beliefs and regards him as a conscientious objector. This is what AI had to say about the case and why it feels that the case warrants the concern of AI and all freedom loving people and human rights activists and supporters throughout the world:

“AI is concerned at reports that Abdul Karim al-Khaiwani has been beaten on at

least two separate occasions by other prisoners. AI calls on the authorities to ensure that he is protected from harm and to launch an impartial investigation into the allegations. Colleagues were reportedly refused permission to visit Abdul Karim al-Khaiwaniuntil December 2004, over three months after his arrest and subsequent detention. His appeal, set for the beginning of December, was delayed until January. At the time of writing, the outcome of his appeal was unknown. Seven other journalists working for al-Shura were reportedly summoned to court for questioning in connection with articles they had written and are awaiting the court's verdict.

Please write, calling on the government to release Abdul Karim al-Khaiwani or charge him with a recognizably criminal offence and give him a fair trial including the right to appeal. Call on the authorities to allow him access to lawyers, visits and medical assistance if necessary.

Send appeals to: His Excellency Dr Rashad Muhammad Al-Alimi, Minister of the Interior, Ministry of the Interior, Sana'a, Yemen. Fax: + 967 1 332 511