Comedian released from jail [Archives:2006/956/Local News]

June 19 2006

SANA'A, June 17 ) Mohammed Al-Athraie, a popular artist and comedian, was released from a political security detention center late Friday. Al-Athraie was arrested last Tuesday by political security members while returning from a Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) festival in Sana'a.

According to the NewsYemen website, Al-Athraie was accused of mimicking President Saleh in his comedy routine. He denied the accusation. Al-Athraie said he was not subjected to any kind of torture while in detention, though he was locked in a dark cell and not told where he was. He expects to be arrested again.

In a statement issued last Thursday, tens of artists and journalists condemned the arrest of Al-Athraie “who was kidnapped by an armed group [of men] and thrown [in]to the political security prison.” Sources wishing to remain unnamed attributed the release of Al-Athraie to a threat by the JMP to boycott the latest dialogue with the ruling General People's Congress if he was not released.