At least eight journalists were attacked on Saturday and Sunday while covering protests in Yemen. (Khaled Abdullah Ali Al Mahdi/Reuters)
At least eight journalists were attacked on Saturday and Sunday while covering protests in Yemen. (Khaled Abdullah Ali Al Mahdi/Reuters)

In Yemen, journalists attacked during protests

New York, December 28, 2011–The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the attacks on at least eight journalists on Saturday and Sunday by armed forces loyal to outgoing President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The clashes between pro-Saleh forces and protesters left nine people dead on Saturday, The Associated Press reported

“These attacks indicate how tenuous the situation remains for journalists to work in Yemen,” said Mohamed Abdel Dayem, CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator. “Despite the political solutions being offered to address the crisis, journalists are still being attacked. We call on Yemeni authorities to allow journalists to carry out their work unharmed and without threat.”

Ahmed al-Musebli, a presenter for the pro-opposition broadcaster Suhail TV, was beaten and arrested by security forces on Saturday at a protest in the neighborhood of Dar Slim in Sana’a, the capital, news reports said. He was detained in an unknown location, but released the next day, news accounts reported.

Ahmed al-Jabr, a journalist with the official Saba news agency, was attacked by pro-Saleh forces while covering the protests in Dar Slim on Saturday, according to news reports. The journalist was injured under one eye, and his car windows were smashed, news reports said. Another freelance journalist, Walid Ablan, was also assaulted by pro-Saleh armed factions at the same protest, news accounts said.

On Saturday, Suhail TV cameraman Kamal al-Mahfady was reporting on protests in Taiz, the country’s third largest city, when he was attacked by a group of pro-Saleh armed forces, according to news reports. He sustained a head injury, news reports said. Another journalist, BBC reporter Abdullah Ghorab, was also attacked by pro-Saleh forces on Saturday, news reports said.

Three journalists–Samia al-Aghraby, reporter for the opposition weekly Al-Thawry, Marwan Ismail, with the news website Yemenat, and freelancer Arwa Abdo Othman–were attacked by Republican Guards at a protest in Sana’a on Sunday, news accounts said. In a statement, the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate said the soldiers pulled at al-Aghraby’s clothes, threatened to beat Othman, and confiscated three cameras.

CPJ has documented the ongoing stream of protest-related attacks against journalists in Yemen, including deaths, physical assaults, detentions, harassments, and attacks on news outlets. Suhail TV in particular has been targeted before, and the BBC’s Abdullah Ghorab was beaten while covering a protest in September.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This alert has been modified to reflect the correct spelling of Abdullah Ghorab’s name.