Due to unconstitutional court and political chargesAl-Khaiwani still suffers [Archives:2007/1099/Front Page]

November 1 2007

By: Mohammed Bin Sallam
SANA'A, Oct. 31 ) Yemeni journalist Abdulkareem Al-Khaiwani appeared in person before the penal court specializing in terrorist acts last Wednesday to hear the charges directed against him by the prosecutor.

He was accused of contacting Abdul-Malik Al-Houthi and disseminating news of the Sa'da war between the state army and the Houthis on Al-Shoura website (affiliated to the union of the Popular Forces), as well as in other private opposition newspapers.

The Wednesday session was the seventh in which the court of appeals, chaired by the Judge Mohsen Alwan, reviewed the Al-Houthi Sana'a Cell issue. The court previously heard many statements from the 14 suspects, including two females, involved in this cell.

According to most monitors, authorities are trying Al-Khaiwani as revenge for his writings and strong attitudes against the regime in Yemen. They also think that the authorities fabricated the claim that Al-Khaiwani contacted the second Al-Houthi Sana'a Cell to accuse him of terrorism.

The eleventh suspect, Mona Al-Khalid, mentioned that her statements written down in the session minutes last Monday regarding prosecution investigations are untrue, as she was coerced to say them while she was in the Criminal Investigation Prison. She added that detectives were seeking an accusation against Al-Khaiwani during the investigation.

Moreover, during Wednesday's session, the court brought up new charges against the members of the Second Sana'a Cell, claiming that Al-Khaiwani accused them of jeopardizing Yemen's security and safety by planning to attack some figures and military institutions.

Some judicial sources mentioned that the Penal Unit of Appeals will repeal the trial sessions of The First Sana'a Cell next Saturday. Verdicts had been issued against members of this cell. Some of these members are sentenced to death or three to ten years of imprisonment, while others have been acquitted.

Abdulkareem Al-Khaiwani is a Yemeni political journalist born in 1965. He studied economics and political science at Sana'a University.He used to be the editor in chief of Al-Shoura weekly newspaper and Al-Shoura web-based news. He is famous for his brave articles criticizing the regime in Yemen.

After becoming the editor-in-chief of Al-Shoura newspaper in 2004, he published very sensitive files against the government. These files contributed to raise the amount of critical press. The most famous files were the inheritance of rule and positions in the state, corruption in the oil field and business and trade practices by government's officials, in addition to coverage of events of the Sa'da war, which broke out in mid-March, 2004. This coverage criticized the war and revealed a lot of facts.

As a result, Al-Khaiwani was exposed to repression and harassment by the government. He was imprisoned in the end of 2004, which lasted for a year, until a verdict accusing him of many charges, including insulting the president of the republic, was issued against him.

Local and international organizations concerned about human rights headed by Press Freedoms interacted with Al-Khaiwani's issue. Governmental and nongovernmental Political groups also interacted with him and engaged his issue in numerous international reports including the annual report of the US Department of State on freedoms as well as in reports of the International Amnest.

Al-Khaiwani was released in 2005 according to a presidential amnesty and due to human rights organizations' pressures.

During his imprisonment, Al-Shoura newspaper was stopped according to the same verdict sentencing him to imprisonment. After the release of Al-Khaiwani, the newspaper was republished. It was recently confiscated where the headquarter was occupied at the hand of an armed personnel supported by security forces.

Moreover, Al-Khaiwani was not allowed to travel abroad. He was exposed to several intimidations including elimination.