Once Popular Forces Union Party gave him upNational Security arrests Al-Khaiwani [Archives:2007/1061/Front Page]

June 18 2007

By: Yemen Times Staff
SANA'A, June 20 ) Sources reported yesterday that National Security arrested journalist and political activist Abdulkarim Al-Khaiwani at his Sana'a residence, later breaking into his home and conducting a thorough search, horrifying his wife and children in the process.

The media industry was surprised on Saturday to learn that the Popular Forces Union Party had let Al-Khaiwani go and fired him as editor-in-chief of its Al-Shoura.net news web site. The party didn't specify the reason for his firing, despite his record of service to them.

Knowledgeable sources suggest that the ruling regime pressured party leaders tremendously to fire Al-Khaiwani and shut down Al-Shoura.net in order to lower the tone calling for canceling the party's license to operate, thus putting the party in a serious dilemma. In turn, the party was unable to express the reason for Al-Khaiwani's firing or even letting him go in an honorable manner.

In a brief telephone interview a couple of hours before his arrest, when asked for more information about his departure from his position, Al-Khaiwani replied, “Party leadership didn't inform me that I was fired; rather, I learned of it only through what was published on the party's web site. I think this is the 'bullet of mercy' that's been fired at my back after years of standing at the forefront of the party and standing up for its principles.”

He added, “There are specific individuals who are members of the party's general committee, who happen to have become closer to the ruling party or are even working with the regime, and there are those who have been conspiring against me and are responsible for the sudden decision to fire me, probably in order to satisfy the regime.”

He concluded, “Our current opposition is a sham. I've worked with two opposition parties during my career as a political activist and I've reached the conclusion that working with political parties is controversial. Any media affiliated with political parties can never serve the country and national issues, despite what many think. These political parties are unfounded and the regime can penetrate and manipulate them as it pleases.”

Assistant secretary-general of the party, Mohammed Al-Mutawakil, said the decision to fire Al-Khaiwani was wrong and may have been personally motivated. He stated that party leadership decided to downsize staff at Al-Shoura.net and therefore, formed a three-member committee of Yahya Al-Showaish, Abdulsalam Al-Razaaz and Rashad Salim to investigate and come up with a list of secondary individuals to be fired as part of a cost-cutting strategy.

Al-Mutawakil emphasized that he strongly opposes the decision to fire Al-Khaiwani, indicating that the journalist is a leadership figure, not a mere employee to be let go, and expressing his sorrow at Al-Khaiwani's departure.

He added, “I telephoned Al-Khaiwani and pleaded for him to return, but it was too late, as the decision to fire him already had been validated.”

A source close to Al-Khaiwani said that the attorney general has called on him to comment on allegations related to distributing photographic images taken during the Sa'ada war and leaking them to the media. The allegations are based on a confession by fellow journalist Muna Al-Khalid, who was arrested while visiting relatives at a Sana'a jail.

Al-Khalid was arrested for several hours until a confession was extracted. A number of allegations, including supporting Houthis, have been thrown at her by the undersecretary of the public attorney's office.

Born in Taiz in 1965, Al-Khaiwani is an outspoken journalist and political activist who previously headed Al-Haq Party's political committee and was editor-in-chief of that party's Al-Ummah newspaper.

After this, he moved to the radical Islamic Popular Forces Union Party where he was editor-in-chief of Al-Shoura newspaper, as well as Al-Shoura.net news web site. The two media outlets' popularity skyrocketed due to his outspoken opinion articles and investigative reports unveiling corruption at very high levels in the regime, involving both current and previous officials.

Al-Khaiwani has been arrested twice before for periods totaling nearly a year. He routinely has been physically and emotionally violated by the regime and security agencies under the banner of national security, the “War on Terrorism” and President Ali Abdullah Saleh's personal image. Some of his most famous articles include, “The anniversary of the throne” and “Ali Katyusha.”