President Saleh’s son Ahmed calls reports on alleged attempt on his life . . .Mere Lies [Archives:2004/718/Front Page]

March 8 2004

By Mohammed al-Qadhi
and Hassan Al-Zaidi
Yemen Times Staff

Colonel Ahmed Ali Abdullah Saleh says recent reports of an assault on his life were based on lies and rumors.
During the graduation of a new batch of the special forces he heads, he said that rumors leaked from some Yemeni sides and reported in some media organs that there was an attempt to assassinate him by one of his officers were “mere lies.”
He called those reports “allegations that aim at shaking the stability and security in Yemen and an attempt to ruin his personal image.”
Those allegations have come at a time when his father, President Ali Abdullah Saleh is visiting a number of eastern and southern governorates. Tribal sources revealed that during his visit to Mareb on Saturday, President Saleh signed a peace treaty with tribesmen of the area for one year.
Analysts said that the rumors may be intented to bring focus on the person of the president's son as the head of the forces currently cracks down on militant groups in various parts of the country, and to expose his role in this regard to the world.

Journalist arrested
Meanwhile, a Yemeni journalist who writes for a London-based newspaper has been arrested for reporting there was an attempt on the life of the eldest son of Yemen's president Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Saeed Thabet, correspondent of the London-based Quds Press Agency, was sntached from the street after he left his house Friday noon for prayers at the mosque. His 3-year old son went home without his father.
The whereabouts of the journalist was only known at 10 o'clock in the evening when intelligence agents came to his house to take some clothes for him, telling his family that there “were orders that he must be summoned.”
However, Thabet was able to tell his family that he was arrested by the Intelligence and that he was alright only at one o'clock in the morning.
The arrest of Thabet came as a result of the rumor that spread like wildfire on Thursday that the elder son of President Ali Abdullah Saleh was subject to an attempted assassination.
The agency for which Thabet works published the news like any other news agencies, mainly from their offices in Jordan.
On its part, Yemen News Agency denied the rumor and described it as “baseless” and as instigated by ill-wishers in Yemen and outside.
The news said that Ahmad Ali Abdullah Saleh, officer of the Republican Guards and Special Tasks Forces was wounded when a senior military officers fired at him after a dispute. It was reported from Jordan that he was hospitalized in Jordan.
The Yemeni Journalists Syndicate (YJS) denounced the arrest and demanded an immediate release of Thabet who is a member of the YJS board.
In a press statement, the YJS expressed surprise at the arrest of one of their board members, at a time while the newly elected board members have not met to distribute the posts among them.
It condemned what it called the “illegal step by the Political Security Organization” and demanded that the authorities take a firm stand against such procedures and the arrest of journalists, which has become routine.
The YJS statement considered the arrest as a “real violation of all legislation relating to human rights and freedoms, primarily the Press and Publication Law.
Journalists gathered at the YJS premises to denounce the arrest and insisted that they would start a sit-in or march towards the intelligence prison to demand the release of their friend.
Some of the YJS leaders were not interested in issuing the statement denouncing the arrest and even left the YJS office after most of the members insisted that a statement should be released.
Some members, including the Chairman Mahbbob Ali, pledged to follow up the question with the Prime Minister and other high ranking officials in the ruling party and intelligence authority to secure the release of the journalist.
The alleged assassination attempt was the talk across Yemen.
In an attempt to refute the rumor, Colonel Ahmad appeared at the graduation ceremony for a new batch from the Republican Guards and Special Tasks Forces anti-terror specialists, held Saturday in Sana'a.
Journalists were invited for the first time to attend the ceremony, but some refused to attend the event until their friend is set free.
Ahmad told the media that he was there to celebrate such an important event and tell the people that the news was an unfounded rumor invented by people of ill-intention.
He said that he did not know about the arrest of Thabet and promised to intervene to set him free.
On its part, Quds Press called on the Yemeni authorities to release Saeed Thabet immediately, describing him a highly professional journalist and that his arrest harms Yemen and its freedom of the press.
Other human rights NGOs denounced the arrest and demanded the release of Thabet immediately.