Journalists support Al-Shater [Archives:2006/989/Front Page]

October 12 2006

Hamdan Dammaj
SANA'A, Oct. 14 ) The Yemeni Journalists Syndicate condemned the threats against General Ali Al-Shatter, Editor in Chief of 26 September Newspaper, by Sheikh Hamid Al-Ahmer, a leading opposition member of the Islah Party. In a statement last Thursday, the journalists syndicate confirmed its full solidarity with Al-Shatter, calling for the Ministry of Interior to take full responsibility to guarantee the safety of Al-Shatter as well as all journalists in Yemen.

The dispute comes after Al-Shatter was threatened by Al-Ahmer over a poem published in 26 September and attributed to Sheikh Mohammed Ahmed Mansour defaming Sheikh Al-Ahmer. Sheikh Mansour sent a letter to the newspaper denying authorship of the poem.

According to sydicate statement, members of the syndicate council listened to a tape of the conversation between Al-Shatter and Al-Ahmer. Although they support Al-Shatter they also call for all newspapers to take a responsible approach towards what they publish “wishing 26 September Newspaper to correct its mistake” especially considering the newspaper is the mouthpiece of the army.

The dispute between Al-Ahmer and Al-Shatter has gone on for sometime. While several syndicates, newspapers as well as civil organizations in Yemen have condemned the threats by Al-Ahmer, other journalists have shown their solidarity with Al-Ahmer claiming what is happening is an attempt by the regime to defame Al-Ahmer for his opposition position during the elections.

New claim

In another development, Rashida Al-Qaili, a Yemeni journalist, claimed while listening to the conversation which is broadcasted in 26 September website, she recognized the voice of Al-Shatter as the person who threatened her last month through her mobile. She said the number of the caller was private, which means it belongs to a high rank person and she says she couldn't recognize the voice at the time.

Al-Shatter has strongly denied the threatening phone call to Al-Qaili. “If Rashida wanted to support Sheikh Al-Ahmer for threatening me then she should have done something else rather than to lie,” according to 26 September net. Al-Shatter maintains his right to go to court for over Al-Qaili's accusations.