Athawri editor gets sentenced, al Wahdawi staff called onto carpet Press harassment in Yemen continues [Archives:2002/46/Local News]

November 11 2002

Harassment of Yemen’s press continued last week when the editor of Athawri newspaper was sentenced to three months in jail, with a stay of execution.
The sentence, given at the court of southwest Sana’a on Nov. 3, falls against Khalid Salman. It was filed by Brig. Mohammed Saleh Al Ahmar, a pilot and Yemen Air Force leader.
Salman was charged after publishing the story of an armed forces plane that was downed last August. Along with the story, the paper published the photo of pilot, Mohammed Al Maqaleh, who died in the incident.
“The frequent verdicts against Athawri and its reporters, and continuing cases filed by the executive authority of the Ministry of Information and Publications Attorney, adds a new political taboo against publication of stories about armed institutions,” said Salman, in a press release to the Times.
“Athawri had proved with evidence and pictures the validity of what has been published about the plane story,” added Salman.
The verdict against Salman adds to the media’s annoyance, as it already deals with frequent press violations and constrictions.
Salman is currently making an appeal but his position is very weak, as he was jailed and paid fines in a two cases filed by ministry of information.
Meanwhile, Al Wahdawi’s newspaper staff, Ali Saqqaf, Hamdi Bukari, Ahmed Saeed and Abdul Aziz Ismael were summoned by the publication attorney on Nov. 5 in Sana’a to be investigated on publishing articles targeting Saudi-Yemeni relations in its last five issues.
Sources indicate that heavy pressure has been put on the Yemeni government by the Saudi Arabian embassy in Yemen to prosecute Wahdawi for how it has handled issues regarding Yemen and Saudi Arabia.
Two newspaper organs of the ruling PGC have accused Al Wahdawi of betraying the country, and of being part of a Zionist campaign against Saudi Arabia. Al Wahdawi’s case was delayed to Nov. 9.