For his offence against journalists Prosecution orders imprisonment of al-Bilad Chief Editor [Archives:2005/848/Front Page]

June 6 2005

In its session held Sunday June 5 for investigating al-Bilad Editor-in-Chief over the defaming article published in the zero issue of his newspaper against journalists Hafid al-Bukari and Rahma Hujairah, the Press and Publications Prosecution ordered the imprisonment of al-Bilad Chief Editor Abdulmalik al-Faishani for seven days.

Abdulmalik al-Faishani, who refused to answer questions filed by the prosecution and to uncover the identity of the article writer, asked for postponing the investigation, but the prosecution rejected his plea.

Ten journalists and international activists interested in human rights and freedoms stood by Ms Hujairah and her husband and attended the session during which al-Bilad Chief Editor was investigated.

The Press and Publications Prosecution postponed last week the investigation of al-Bilad Editor-in-Chief because of being engaged outside Sana'a.

The prosecution rejected the request of lawyers who demanded the judiciary to prevent al-Bilad Editor-in-Chief from traveling abroad.

Journalist Hafid al-Bukari General Secretary of the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate (YJS) and his wife Rahma Hujaira, Head of the Yemeni Female Media Forum (YFMF) appointed three lawyers to defend them at the court, and the YFMF filed a suit against al-Bilad Newspaper.

The defaming article published by al-Bilad Newspaper in its zero issue against journalist Rahma Hujairah and her husband Hafid al-Bukari was locally and internationally denounced.

A large number of journalists expressed solidarity with the two spouses, held a sit-in at the YJS and released numerous statements denouncing defamation of Journalists Hujairah and al-Bukari.

A number of non-government organizations and political parties, as well as international organizations, including the International Journalists Union (IJU) and the Arab Journalists Union (AJU), expressed their strong denunciation of such indecent practices against Yemeni journalists.

Several observers interested in journalism issues hold the view that only accelerating the case-related procedures fairly can ensure protection for freedoms of expression.

Al-Bilad Newspaper issued its second issue last Saturday, two weeks after its first issue that contained the defaming article against journalists Hujairah and al-Bukari. This fact aroused curiosity among media personnel as the Ministry of Information have not suspended issuance of al-Bilad Newspaper for its illegal practices.

In addition, a number of pressmen from different media means collected signatures and demanded Information Minister to show resignation for being indifferent to journalists and rules controlling issuances as well as giving permissions to undisciplined newspapers.