Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Join the Letter Writing Campaign to Free Yemeni Journalist

Reposted from Jane Novak's original at The Jawa Report.

Sign here please. It's a letter campaign to the Yemeni government, US, UK, UN, and EU for my friend Yemeni journalist al-Khaiwani who may be sentenced to death in two weeks for insulting the president. We can't have that. No. So please sign here. In Yemen, the campaign is co-sponsored by Member of Parliament Amed Saif Hasid who gave Jawa an interview about conditions in Yemen prisons and two prominent female activists.

Also the UK journalists organization, Article 19, has endorsed the campaign.

Some Al-Khaiwani quotes:

October 27, 2005 Yemen Times article by al-Khawiani "Stop Attacking the American Journalist" :
"Being an independent political article, Jane is an effective voice having its strong reverberation in different parts of the world. After their failure to attract Novak to their side, the Yemeni authorities turned to terrorize journalists, harm the reputation of Novak and prevent the circulation of her articles in the country in order not to let the Yemeni journalists know the westerners who back them."
From my article after his 2007 arrest (but before his kidnapping):
Dec 2004, he wrote me from jail, "Democracy and freedom are not granted by a leader or a regime, it is a world wide human achievement of all the free people on earth." and "I believe in democracy, freedom, equality and rights and am willing to suffer for their sake simply because I do not wish my children to suffer dictatorship and I will strive to provide them a better future."

May 2004, "We will continue our fight against corrupt crooks at the power center who are annoyed by the reports that have touched their interests," he told the Yemen Times.

December 2006, he wrote to the United Nations, "The State hunts us, abuses our rights, and restrict our freedom of expressions. We were subjected to abduction, forcible disappearance, and illegal and unconstitutional arrests. We are deprived of our livelihood sources because we criticize corruption and the military regime that has been grasping power for 28 years." (The United Nations failed to respond.)

In February 2007, al-Khaiwani was forcibly brought to court related to a published article. "I wished the court showed a similar zest in Anisah Al-Shuabi's case or doing justice to Raash villagers," he noted, referring to women raped by police and an entire village displaced at the whim of a sheik.

February 2007, he said his website Al-Shoura was blocked, "because we are criticizing corruption, the prejudices of rights and freedoms, and our continuing need for political and cultural reforms and good governance."
December 2007: Al-Khiwani told MENASSAT.COM, "I am paying the price for believing the government and its claims about pursuing rise of democracy. After they broke into my house and terrified my family and kidnapped me in public, in front of the Al-Nida newspaper, I have this feeling that the authorities have decided to spill my blood."

Article 19's report on Yemen, "Freedom of Expression in Peril", contains this from Al-Khaiwani, "They mobilize religion, laws and even the tribe against us. We, on the other hand, only own our dreams. They even want to rob us of this."

Some links
4/28/08: IFJ Calls on Yemeni President to End Intimidation of Independent Journalism and Media
2/6/08: CPJ Annual report Yemen
1/22/08:CPJ's Senate Foreign Relations Committee Testimony about al-Khaiwani's case
11/2007: RSF: Journalist faces possible death penalty over photos "liable to undermine army morale"
9/07/07: US State Department Notes Disturbing Trend
8/27/07: CPJ: Yemeni editor abducted, severely beaten
8/26/07: RSF Despite Denials, Security Officials Were Involved in the Kidnapping
CPJ troubled
by terror charges against outspoken Yemeni editor