Intimidated journalist appeals to authorities [Archives:2007/1029/Front Page]

March 1 2007

By:Adil Al-Khawlani
SANA'A, Feb. 28 ) Journalist Khalid Dallaq has appealed to the attorney general and the interior minister to intervene in easing the state of intimidation and fear he has experienced for eight days, as he and his family often are followed and intimidated by a military leader without any clear reason.

Dallaq told that two soldiers have been stationed in front of his house for a week under the pretext that they want to arrest and transfer him to Prosecution after military leaders filed suit against him. They told Dallaq that the appeals court sentenced him to eight months in jail, but with suspended execution, and fined him YR 150,000.

According to Dallaq, the soldiers say something is seriously wrong, particularly after his defense attorney went to the capital appeals court to learn whether his client has been sued and why he's being followed.

Dallaq expressed curiosity at authorities using force and following him without consulting the judiciary and law or respecting human rights. He added that he has suffered much from being followed by the authorities.

Dallaq noted that he's sorry because the other party in the case isn't considering proposals offered by the attorney general and the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate three days ago. Both the attorney general and the syndicate obliged the two sides to handle the issue and end their dispute.

The journalist pointed out that the attorney general suspended the aforementioned case in prosecution and courts in order to tackle the issues in a friendly manner. “I abided by the agreement, but the other party [the authorities] are escalating the issue,” Dallaq lamented.

In a statement released last week, the Press Freedom Center condemned Dallaq's intimidation and following by authorities. It further denounced the silence of both officials and civil community organizations, who haven't shown any reaction to Dallaq's ordeal. The center urged all those concerned to intervene in putting a stop to all arbitrary practices against journalists by influential individuals.

Additional press violations

The Yemeni Journalists Syndicate denounced the Ministry of Telecommunication's blackout of the Popular Forces Union Party-affiliated, demanding the ministry immediately release the web site.

According to the syndicate, such measures are a violation of press freedom and it called on concerned parties to take swift action against all of those who violate press freedom.

In the same context, a security officer at Islah's Fourth General Conference prevented reporter Ali Al-Ghulaisi from attending the conference's concluding session on Monday.

Al-Ghulaisi affirmed that the security officer, who was in charge of searching entrants at the door, belongs to the Yemeni intelligence organization. The officer accused of being loyal to Yahya Al-Houthi.

“I asked the officer to allow me to enter the conference hall like the other reporters and correspondents from local and international media, but he refused,” Al-Ghulaisi recounted, “The officer told members of the conference's Organization and Media Committee to say that is extremely engaged in Al-Houthi information and isn't free to cover the Islah Party conference.”

Officials at the web site expressed their concern over such conduct by authorities and their animosity toward independent journalism in Yemen.