He was left at lurch by the international community:Seven more in Al-Khaiwani’s queue [Archives:2004/796/Front Page]

December 6 2004

Mohammed bin Sallam
The Prosecution of Press and Publications summoned last week seven more editors and writers from Al-Shoura and other newspapers to be presented for trial based on accusation of writing false information, which potentially means that they could follow Al-Khaiwani to prison.
Journalists Abdullah Sallam Al-Hakimi, Jamal Al-Ja'abi, Rashida Al-Gaili, Abdullah Sabri, Aidi Al-Manifi, Abdulfatah Al-Hakimi and Jamal Amer are all now under interrogation and could face the same fate of Al-Khaiwani.
A journalist who has been following up the case from the beginning and who demanded anonymity said that the journalists have no faith in the judicial system and would not be surprised if all of them are thrown into prison for charges similar to those of Al-Khaiwani.
“They have seen that the little international pressure on the government had resulted in zero results. Hence, they now think that no matter what happens to them, the world is going to be helpless.” he openly declared.

Al-Khaiwani's case delayed again
This took place as the Appeals Court -as expected- put the legal proceedings of the case in stake by further delaying the trial of Editor-in-Chief of Opposition Al-Shoura newspaper, Abdulkareem Al-Khawani once again on Saturday December 4.
Human rights activists and the local press were disappointed in this delay, which some think is intentional and serves only to kill his case once and for all and diminish hopes in his release.

Visits to Al-Khaiwani still prevented
Meanwhile, the Central Prison authority continued to prevent journalists from visiting their colleague Al-Khaiwani who is now spending his fourth month in prison. Not only is Al-Khaiwani prevented from reading and writing while in jail, he cannot even hold or use a pen or paper under any circumstances.
An officer at the prison said that the Minister of Interior issued orders not to allow any journalists to visit Al-Khaiwani after the minister paid a visit to the prison more than a month ago along with a legal committee upon ordered by President Saleh.
The authority of the central prison in Sana'a refused to refer the case of assaults committed against Al-Khaiwani to the prison prosecution to carry out the legal procedures.
A source from the legal defense team said the prison authority gave the excuse that the proceedings it carried out are sufficient and there is no need to refer the case to the prosecution.
The lawyers of Al-Khaiwani claimed that carelessness of the prison authority resulted in frequent assaults on Al-Khaiwani and the concerned parties did not proceed against the attackers and show the motives behind such violent behavior.
Al-Khaiwani attributed the responsibility of his assault and the recurrent attempts to attack him in the last days of Ramadan to the prison authority. The authorities said that Al-Khaiwani forgave the attackers but he denies that.
A delegation from Yemeni Journalists Syndicate (YJS) failed to know the legal justifications behind preventing pressmen from visiting Al-Khaiwani to know about his mental and physical conditions upon hearing about the assaults. So far, only his relatives and defense lawyers were allowed.

Unbelievably harsh treatment
Elements from the prison guards had confidentially told the press that they were amazed to the degree of harshness that the prison authority practiced against Al-Khaiwani and wondered what in earth did this person do to deserve a treatment that is not even done to 'terrorists'.
Al-Khaiwani colleagues said that an explanation of this behavior could be the intention to prevent Al-Khaiwani to write for any newspaper in the region and the world from his prison. They fear that any piece of paper and pen that could reach him from his colleagues could result in an article that could be publicized and published in regional and international media describing his plight and the assaults he may be exposed to. This could very well tarnish Yemen's image a country moving towards democracy.
In Ramadan, it was reported that Al-Khaiwani was severely beaten up to the level of having his jaws broken. His mental conditions deteriorated ever since.
The Western Capital Court issued the verdict of imprisonment of Abdulkareem Al-Khaiwani and closure of Al-Shoura Newspaper last September over writings of other journalists who are currently interrogated by the authorities and could be convicted of slandering the president and inciting ethnic conflicts and divide.
The YJS considered this as a press massacre committed by the authorities against free opinion and freedom of the press.

Pressure still not enough
International and local pressure apparently had no effect on the regime, which continues to hold Al-Khaiwani in prison and with legal action, threatens to send more journalists to jail.
A source at Al-Shoura claims that the list of journalists summoned so far could get longer in time, and they see this as an attempt to terrorize journalists working for the independent and opposition press.
The source thinks that these are scandalous violations that are already causing a lot of damage to the already 'shrinking' margin of democracy, which has been adopted since the unification of Yemen in 1990.