GPC levels unprecedented defamation against Abdullah Al-AhmarNation appalled [Archives:2005/818/Front Page]

February 21 2005
Photo from archived article: photos/818/front1_1
Photo from archived article: photos/818/front1_1
By Walid Al-Saqqaf
Yemen Times Staff

The nation and the expatriate and international community have been appalled by the unprecedented attack of the ruling party, the General People's Congress (GPC) represented by Al-Mithaq Weekly against the person of the prominent national figure, and speaker of parliament, Sheikh Abdullah bin Hussein Al-Ahmar.

Unprecedented, unjustifiable

The latest articles that defamed Al-Ahmar, of the Islah Party, was released in the last edition of Al-Mithaq, where Al-Ahmar was called exteme names and accused of outlandish things such as robbery, deceit, ignorance, and mental illness.

In response to the published statements, Sheikh Al-Ahmar said the attacks are being directed by the regime and result from unjustifiable hatred. “I would rather not add to what has been said about me except what the poet said: If the immoral had spoken, then don't respond, as staying quiet is wiser.”

Some articles said that Sheikh Al-Ahmar had been told to read a statement by his party members, without knowing what it contained and that they used him to market their more extreme views. However, Sheikh Al-Ahmar strongly denounced this, saying every word he said in the conference held more than a week ago were his own.

President interferes had reported that President Saleh ordered an immediate investigation into the articles that defamed Al-Ahmar. And an official statement released by denied any disagreement between Saleh and Al-Ahmar. It said that , “There are no disputes between the President of the Republic and Sheikh Abdullah bin Hussein Al-Ahmar,” and that the relationship between them is brotherly and was not affected whatsoever.”

The statement also expressed outrage and dismay at what Al-Mithaq had published against Sheikh Al-Ahmar, saying that those responsible will be held accountable and journalists should write freely but according to the laws and should distant themselves from partisan disagreements and propaganda.

Indication of Islah's success

Some prominent Islah figures claimed that the extreme defamation of Al-Ahmar indicates Islah's success in focusing on the important issues that touch the lives of regular citizens.

According to many prominent Islah members, the articles appearing in Al-Mithaq contributed positively to the image of Al-Ahmar and Islah because they highlighted the unexplainable anger and frustration that the ruling party had shown for constructive recommendations to end corruption and enforce the law.

Opposition parties have rallied behind Al-Ahmar after the attack and expressed their solidarity and support to the opposition leader, saying that such action by the regime had only caused greater unity among opposition and highlighted the successful role that Islah is playing as an active, not double-faced opposition party.

Meanwhile, the general public had also expressed support to Islah and its leader after the series of attacks. It appears they were not convincing for a large portion of the public who had seen that the recommendations of the Islah conference were more about reforms, unifying opposition, rejecting price hikes, and other issues that appealed to the people.