National Security prevents editor from flying to Morocco [Archives:2006/1006/Front Page]

December 11 2006

Mohamed Bin Sallam
SANA'A, Dec. 10 ) The National Security prevented on Saturday the writer and political activist Abdulkarim Al-Khaiwani, a leading member of the opposition Popular Forces Union and also the Editor in Chief of Al-Shawri website from flying to Morocco.

The editor was held at Sana'a International Airport and his passport was seized. Al-Khaiwani was accompanied by a police officer to the Interior Ministry, which apologized to him and returned his passport after a few hours. The ministry told Al-Khaiwani to book another flight to Morocco in the coming days.

The airport security authorities told Al-Khaiwani that he is not allowed to board the plane until they receive orders from authorities. The police told the journalist that a regional human rights course he was travelling for, organized by the International Red Cross, was cancelled.

Lt. Col. Mohamed Al-Mawiri, from the Interior Ministry, regretted what happened to Al-Khaiwani. “We went quickly to the airport to tackle the issue. We interceded to allow Al-Khaiwani to catch the Morocco-bound plane, but all efforts were of no avail,” Al-Mawiri told the Yemen Times.

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Asked why Al-Khaiwani was held at the airport, the officer replied, “Al-Khaiwani has been blacklisted since he was jailed for political issues. We managed to drop his name from the blacklist, thus allowing him to fly whenever he wants.”

Al-Khaiwani confirmed to the Yemen Times that he will not be using his legal right to sue the security authorities that prevented him from flying to Morocco. He said President Ali Abdullah Saleh is responsible for the act and asked him to clarify the reason behind this behavior. “All the security authorities treat me as if I am an opponent of the president,” he said.

Al-Khaiwani added that he respects all the security officers at the airport and doesn't hold them accountable for the behavior since they only implement directives from high-ranking officials.

The Popular Forces Union General Secretariat condemned the National Security for abusing Al-Khaiwani's legal rights, particularly as he is running a news website. It said the editor was prevented from boarding the plane without any justification.

“The security authorities exercise strange and inhumane behavior, thus violating the constitution and law and interfering in the authorities of the judicial institutions, which should have taken these procedures,” sid Abdussalam Razzaz, Popular Forces Union Assistant Secretary General. “These acts abuse citizens' rights and freedoms.”

Razzaz urged the concerned parties to take quick action against this conduct that contradicts promises made by the ruling party to protect journalists and defend public freedoms.

The Yemeni Socialist Party condemned the act of preventing Al-Khaiwani from flying to Morocco.

“The security apparatuses in our country only violate the rights and freedoms of people and work contrarily to the law,” said Yasin Sa'eed Nu'man, socialist party secretary general.

Yemeni Journalists Syndicate demanded the concerned parties to quickly investigate such an arbitrary act, which forced Al-Khaiwani to miss his flight.

The syndicate released a statement Sunday denouncing Al-Khaiwani's detainment for hours without a clear reason.