Journalist challenges death threats [Archives:2004/737/Front Page]

May 13 2004

Mohammed Al-Qadhi
The Editor-in-Chief of the opposition weekly Al-Shura has received death threats for publishing reports and articles criticizing the political succession in Yemen.
Abdulkareem al-Khaiwani told Yemen Times that he will continue publishing such reports despite the threats. “We will continue our fight against corrupt crooks at the power center who are annoyed by the reports that have touched their interests,” he said. He emphasized that they have consulted lawyers regarding whether he has broken the law in publishing such stories; and that they were told that they had done nothing illegal.
Al-Khaiwani informed the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate (YJS) on May 7 that he had received threats that he would be killed and that his children would be kidnapped. Al-Khaiwani said he was summoned by the National Security Organization in a gentle way. However, he said he could understand that in publishing such reports he “crossed the red lines, mainly in publishing things related to the President.” “I understood that a journalist can face death in any way either through a hit by mad man (concerned about his country) or by a speedy car,” he said. He also said that he had received the death threats after publishing the first report criticizing the succession. “The calls came from anonymous people and private numbers; they insulted and badmouthed me with different bad titles. I thought that the people targeted by the reports wanted to drain off their anger. But the pressure was intensified by the request from a National Security Organization officer that I should appear before them.” He said he holds the Yemeni authorities accountable for his and his family's safety.
The YJS demanded in a letter to the Minister of the Interior, Prime Minister and other human rights and press freedom NGOs that the people behind the threats should be held accountable. “We hold you responsible for anything bad that happens to the journalist,” it said.
Another journalist named Abed al-Mahthari, Editor of al-Diyar newspaper published in Sa'adda, received the same threats. The YJS took the same step, asking the Minister of the Interior to bring them to justice. The Editor accused some sheikhs in the area of threatening him for publishing reports criticizing the situation in the governorate.
Al-Shura, mouthpiece of the Popular Forces Federation Party, has been publishing articles and reports critical of the government and the political regime, exposing common problems regarding the succession of military and government positions by the sons and relatives of the principal decision-makers. The paper published some of the names of the sons and relatives of the high ranking officials who have been put in important positions for nothing but nepotism, whilst other qualified people are jobless.