Student union calls for investigating death threat against pop singer [Archives:2006/1002/Front Page]

November 27 2006

Mohammed Al-Jabri
SANA'A, Nov. 26 ) Sana'a University's General Union for Yemeni Students is calling for investigations into a death threat leveled at Yemeni pop singer Mohammed Al-Adhroei' during a reception last week at the university's Faculty of Commerce.

Head of the union, Ridhwan Masoud, said Al-Adhroei' was threatened to be killed if he attended the celebration, to which the student union had invited him to perform a sketch.

Masoud recounted, “At the directive of Sana'a University President Khalid Tamim, several soldiers stopped me at the university gate and took me to Doctor Tamim, who refused the idea of hosting the pop singer.” Although surprised by Tamim's position, he noted, “He is the president of the largest Middle Eastern university.”

According to Masoud, Tamim's response was, “Al-Adhroei' isn't allowed to attend because he criticizes the state. If either you or Al-Adhroei' attend, then we will fight.”

The union head went on to say that Tamim thereafter would hold university security responsible if the pop singer managed to attend the celebration, demanding strict measures be taken. “Upon hearing Tamim's orders, a security official named Yahya Al-Azaki told me he'd kill Al-Adhroei', repeating that sentiment three times,” Masoud pointed out.

Taking no action, Masoud headed for the hall where hundreds of students were awaiting the celebration. There, he was surprised to see approximately 40 heavily-armed soldiers with grenades and guns spread around the hall. “I asked the reason for their presence and one soldier replied that they were ready to fire should Al-Adhroei' attend,” Masoud added.

Seeking to avoid such a clash, the student union head telephoned Al-Adhroei' and asked him not to attend the event.

Masoud now is calling for an investigation of Al-Azaki and demands that university president Tamim apologize for his behavior. “Otherwise, we will resort to the judiciary system,” he concluded.

Known for songs lampooning official corruption in Yemen, Al-Adhroei' was invited to perform a sketch during the university's celebration to receive a new batch of students, as well as reward prominent Faculty of Commerce students. “Fearing clashes with university security, Masoud asked me not to attend, telling me that if I did, they would kill me,” Al-Adhroei' stated.

The pop singer explains that he doesn't know why state officials fear his songs. “I tackle corruption issues. We should call for reforms and see improvements in our country,” he says.

The Yemeni government recently has shown concern over the pop songs of Al-Adhroei' and fellow pop singer Fahd Al-Qarni because the two artists tackle themes related to disclosing corruption and their work appeals to the Yemeni 'everyman.' Hundreds of their cassettes and CDs were confiscated during the most recent elections.

Members of the political security apparatus detained Al-Adhroei' June 13, reportedly for mimicking President Ali Abdullah Saleh in one of his songs, but released him three days later.