Journalist’s murder decried [Archives:2006/961/Front Page]

July 3 2006

SANA'A, July 5 ) In a statement released Monday, the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate (YJS) denounced the murder of Abed Al-Usaili, a journalist and technical secretary at Al-Nahar newspaper. The 27-year-old journalist was killed Sunday evening in his birthplace, Belad Al-Qabael in Al-Haima district in Sana'a.

The syndicate urged the Ministry of Interior to arrest the perpetrators immediately, transfer them to court and examine the motives behind the crime.

The YJS statement confirmed that the journalism community knew Al-Usaili as a talented journalist and contributor to many local newspapers before his murder.

In a statement, Al-Nahar newspaper mourned the loss of the prominent writer and demanded that concerned parties hunt the perpetrators, capture them and refer them to court to be sentenced for their crime.

The statement asserted that Al-Usaili was killed for publishing a short article entitled, “The Country of Tribes Suffers,” in the newspaper's June 22 issue No. 210. The piece criticized Al-Haima district officials for obstructing a water project underway in the area.

Following a dispute about the water project, the tribe to which Al-Usaili belonged had reached a truce with another tribe and under this truce, their dispute was settled via reconciliation.

Press sources affirmed that armed men observed Al-Usaili during the night and shot him dead over his critical article. Security authorities dispatched 16 police vehicles to the area where the incident occurred, but haven't arrested those involved in the crime because they are being harbored by influential Al-Haima officials.

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Yemeni journalists denounced the incident and expressed concern over persistent threats posed to their profession, considering what happened to Al-Usaili a false uprising against the press and press members. The flagrant crime against Al-Usaili occurred during just a few weeks of calmness following a series of threats and violence against Yemeni media personnel.

Both past and recent years have witnessed numerous abuses and attacks against Yemeni journalists. A booby-trapped envelope machinated against Al-Nahar Managing Editor Haje'e Al-Jehafi under cover of a letter sent from a prominent sheikh in Ibb was one such malicious incident targeting journalists.

Many also have suffered assaults, beatings, murder threats and defamation, including Hafez Al-Bukari and his wife Rahmah Hujaira, Al-Wasat Editor-in-Chief Jamal Amer and Qied Al-Tairi, a reporter for Al-Thawri newspaper, which is run by the Yemeni Socialist Party. Others were tried or jailed for criticizing corrupt officials and influential sheikhs.

Despite the fact that Yemeni press members have been subjected to illegal and arbitrary practices, Al-Usaili's murder is the most flagrant and necessitates quick reaction and joint efforts by media institutions and human rights organizations.