Editor imprisoned, paper closed [Archives:2004/745/Front Page]

June 10 2004

Mohammed Al-Qadhi
A Yemeni court passed two verdicts on Wednesday on al-Shumoo Weekly, entailing the imprisonment of the editor and closure of the paper for three months with a fine of around $11,000.
The verdict comes just after one week of the order of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, demanding that the government amend the Press and Publication Law of 1990, abolishing the term of imprisonment of journalists on publishing issues.
The first verdict stated that the paper should be fined YR50,000 for the government as well as pay YR 1 million in compensation to businessman Abdulnaser al-Sunaidar, who sued the paper for publishing a list of names of businessmen who did not repay their loans to a number of banks, including the name of Al-Sunaidar. The verdict also ordered the closure of the paper for three months.
The second case verdict issued by the South-East court of Sana'a imprisoned the Editor, Abdulbaset al-Shameri, for three months, and imposed a fine of YR 50,000 for the government and a further fine for businessman Hasan Abdo Ja'ed. Mr Abdo Ja'ed had sued the paper for publishing an article on the operations of the electricity station of Aden, suggesting his inability to run the project.
The Yemeni Journalists Syndicate (YJS) showed surprise at the verdicts, which violate the orders of Saleh to abolish the imprisonment of journalists, and amend the press law to grant more privileges and widen the scope of press freedom. “These verdicts do not only target the journalist but also violate the President's decision,” a statement issued by YJS said, demanding that the YJS should be involved in any amendments of the press law.
On his part, the newspaper's publisher, Saif al-Haderi, considered the verdict as “a victory for the corrupt lobby whom the paper targets.” He called on the journalist to start a sit-in at the YJS office to protest against the verdicts. He decided also to against appeal the verdicts.