Middle East and North Africa cases 2004: Country List    I   Middle East and North Africa Regional Home Page
How CPJ investigates and classifies attacks on the press

Posted: September 17, 2004

Abdel Karim al-Khaiwani, Al-Shoura

Al-Khaiwani, editor of the opposition weekly Al-Shoura, began serving a one-year prison sentence on September 5. That day, he was convicted of incitement, insulting the president, publishing false news, and causing tribal and sectarian discrimination. Al-Khaiwani's lawyer, Jamal al-Jaabi, told CPJ that al-Khaiwani was charged under both Yemen's Press Law and Penal Code. The court also suspended Al-Shoura for six months.

Al-Jaabi said the charges against al-Khaiwani stemmed from nine opinion pieces published in the July 7 issue of the weekly, which was dedicated to discussing the Yemeni government's fight against rebel cleric Hussein Badreddin al-Hawthi, who led a three-month uprising against authorities in the northern Yemeni region of Saada. Hundreds were reportedly killed during the uprising, and government forces killed al-Hawthi on September 10.

The articles, which were written by other newspaper staff members, were extremely critical of the government's conduct and questioned its motives in engaging in an armed conflict against al-Hawthi and his supporters. For example, one of the pieces claimed that the government was creating terrorism with their actions, while another claimed that innocent people were being killed in the conflict.

Al-Jaabi said that al-Khaiwani was detained at Al-Shoura's offices late in the evening on September 5, the same day the court convicted him. Al-Jaabi said that the officers who arrested al-Khaiwani were dressed in plainclothes and did not provide a warrant when they came for him. Al-Jaabi told CPJ that he has already filed an appeal.

DECEMBER 26, 2004
Posted: January 18, 2005

Abdel Rahman Abdullah, Al-Tagammu
Nabil Subai, Al-Tagammu
Abdelwahid Hawash, Al-Ihyaa Al-Arabi
Abdel Jabbar Saad, Al-Ihyaa Al-Arabi
Hamid Shahra, Al-Nas

Yemeni courts handed down suspended prison terms to at least five journalists in cases relating to their published work, according to press reports and local journalists.

Abdel Rahman Abdullah, editor of the opposition weekly Al-Tagammu (The Rally), was given a six-month suspended prison sentence after being found guilty of publishing false information. The charge was based on an article about an alleged Libyan government plot to kill Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler, Prince Abdullah Al-Saud. Nabil Subai, a reporter with Al-Tagammu, received a four-month suspended sentence when the same court found him guilty of harming relations with Saudi Arabia in an article in which he criticized the Saudi government's treatment of political dissidents and accused it of not being serious about political reform.

Abdelwahid Hawash and Abdel Jabbar Saad-editor and reporter, respectively, for the small circulation pro-Baathist weekly Al-Ihyaa Al-Arabi (The Arab Revival)-both received six-month suspended prison sentences for allegedly harming relations between Yemen and Saudi Arabia, according to local journalists. The charge stemmed from articles published last year that, among other things, criticized Saudi Arabia for its position on the U.S.-led war on Iraq, and its crackdown on militant groups operating in the Kingdom.

In a third case, Hamid Shahra, editor of Al-Nas (The People) weekly, was handed a three-month suspended prison sentence for allegedly defaming the minister of local administration after the newspaper published an article that accused the minister of hiring friends to government posts and using his office for financial gain, according to Jamal al-Jaabi, a lawyer for Shahra.

DECEMBER 29, 2004
Posted: January 18, 2005

Abdulkarim Sabra, Al-Hurriya
Abdulqawi al-Qabati, Al-Hurriya

Sabra, editor of the private weekly Al-Hurriya (The Freedom), and al-Qabati, a reporter with the newspaper, were each sentenced to two years in prison by a criminal court in Sana'a for allegedly "insulting" President Ali Abdullah Saleh in an article published in the newspaper, Sabra's lawyer, Abdelaziz Al-Samawi, told CPJ. The court also banned the newspaper from publishing for a year.

The case against the two men stemmed from al-Qabati's October 13 article that was highly critical of Arab leaders, including Saleh. Sabra and al-Qabati were not immediately jailed, according to local journalists, although their imprisonment was considered possible at any moment.

DECEMBER 29, 2004
Posted: January 18, 2005


A court in Sana'a banned the private weekly Al-Hurriya (The Freedom) from publishing for a year after it allegedly "insulted" President Ali Abdullah Saleh in an October 13 article. The article was highly critical of Arab leaders, including Saleh. Editor Abdulkarim Sabra and reporter Abdulqawi al-Qabati were each sentenced to two years in prison in the case, although they were not immediately jailed.