Press Trials on the Rise [Archives:2000/32/Local News]

August 7 2000

A number of party organ and independent newspapers have been supbeonaed to stand before the Press and Publication Court for questioning on some articles published and considered to be a violation of the Press and Publication Law.
Since 1990 this is the first time such a campaign is launched. Within one week the number of newspapers summoned reached 6 Yemeni newspapers, a step peers view as the beginning for censoring freedom of the press.
Rahmah Hujairah, corespondent of the “Zahrat Al-Khalij” magazine has been summoned to appear before court for questioning and investigation following publication of a report about the Faculty of Medicine in which she interviewed Dr. Al-Wurafi. The report was also published in other newspapers. Al-Wurafi was detained by the Political Security for a week for investigation. However, he denied what was published in the magazine leading to summoning Rahmah for questioning.
Al-Wahdawi newspaper, mouthpiece of the People’s Nasserite Unionist Party, received an arraignment to stand before court as it published a news item on a judge from Taiz. The court is still looking into a case filed against the newspaper as it published an opinion article, viewed as offending the ruling royal family in Saudi Arabia by the Ministry of Information.
Al-Balagh independent newspaper is now on court after a case filed last week by the Ministry of Information. The newspaper was accused of publishing a news item about an Iraqi teacher working at the Education College, Amran, 25km away from Sana’a, who is said to have raped 8 students. However, it later appeared that it was a groundless information.
The Press and Publication Prosecution has also called Mr. Khalid Al-Hamadi, correspondent of “Al-Kudss Al-Arabi” newspaper, to appear in court as he reported news offensive to the reputation of Yemen.
Aden-based Al-Ayyam independent newspaper is also being tried for different cases on different articles and news items published.
Al-Tajamo’o newspaper, mouthpiece of Yemeni Wahdawi Congregation, was under threat of closure while it is tried for 20 cases.
On the other hand, there are many other pending cases in courts against other journalists and newspapers including the imprisonment of Ali Al-Surari, chief editor of Ath-Thawri newspaper, mouthpiece of the Yemeni Socialist Party.
Sheikh Al-Zindani has also made a request to the court to implement the 80-lash verdict against Sa’ad’s sons: Abdullah Sa’ad, ex-chief editor of Al-Shura who died quite a long time ago, and his brother Abduljabar Sa’ad upon publishing an article in Al-Shura newspaper, viewed as abusive to Al-Zindani. He is now again calling upon the court to implement the verdict.
Al-Thakafiah newspaper against which aggressive campaigns have recently been launched upon re-publishing a novel by the Yemeni late novelist Mohammed Abdulwali titled “Sana’a an Open City”, viewed as including some insulting expressions against the Almighty God. The court has adjourned its sessions to August 16, 2000.
Al-Hekmah Al-Yamania magazine, published by the Artists and Yemeni Writers Union, is also tried for publishing a story by Ahmad Al-Jarmozi in 1999, and who died two years ago, viewed as abusive to the Almighty God.
Al-Sahwah newspaper, mouthpiece of Yemeni Congregation for Reform, ‘Islah’, is now in court after a case filed by Mohammed Naji Allaw and Ali Saif Hassan, assistant secretary general of the People’s Nasseriate Unionist Party. Al-Sahwah re-published some excerpts from Al-Jarmozi’s story, already published in Al-Hekmah Al-Yamania magazine, to let the readers judge if it contains abusive expressions to the Almighty or not.
Al-Ihya’a Al-Arabi newspaper, mouthpiece of the Arab Baath Socialist Party, is also being tried due some reports published about Al-Thakafiah and its chief editor’s trials.
Al-Nass independent newspaper has also received a warrant to appear before the prosecution.
While the Information minister was strongly confirming the freedom of press, many media sources wonder about these inclusive campaigns launched against newspapers and journalists.