Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has today accused the Yemeni authorities of
"brutal inhumanity" in their treatment of a leading editor who has been subject
to kidnapping, detention and denial of access to basic medical treatment for
"The ordeal of Mohammed al
Maqaleh is a scandalous story of neglect and brutal inhumanity," said Aidan
White, IFJ General Secretary. "We fully support our colleagues in the Yemen who
demand his immediate release and an end to all the violations of his rights."
The IFJ is backing protest
by the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate (YJS), an IFJ affiliate over the case and
has written to the country's President
Ali Abdullah Saleh, calling for an investigation of how the authorities have handled this
case and for those responsible for al Maqaleh's maltreatment to be brought to
Al Maqaleh is the editor
for the opposition Socialist Party's website, Al Eshteraki. He was kidnapped in September after the news
site reported on Yemeni military air strikes targeting civilians in an incident
that killed 87 people and injured more than a hundred.
He was snatched
by gunmen on the streets of the capital Sana'a and since then has been subject
to systematic abuse. For months security agencies as well as the Attorney General
repeatedly denied knowledge of his fate, until official agencies revealed his
abduction and transferred him to prison and to be charged with criminal charges
on 30 January, 2010.
union says that during his disappearance he has been subjected to systematic
psychological and physical abuse. He suffered three simulated executions, his
captors fired guns close to him, he has been beaten, denied food and drink for
days, and finally put blindfolded in a dark, secluded area outside the capital Sana.
the latter to President Saleh, White and IFJ President Jim Boumelha accused the
authorities of "bringing shame to the country" by a process of abuse that has
also included psychological torture of his family who have been sent mixed
messages about his fate by officials.
The IFJ says
there have been dozens of instances in which plain clothes security officers
have snatched journalists off the street. There have been many reports of
severe beatings, sexual assaults, threats to family, whipping and other forms
of violence used again prisoners and kidnap victims in Yemen. Mohamed al Maqaleh is the latest victim of
The targeting of journalists and suppression of newspapers and web sites has
taken place at a time when the government is anxious not to have critical
coverage of the ongoing Sa'ada War.
The syndicate has announced plans to organise protest
activities next Monday to coincide with the day of the Yemeni press. Protests
will focus on the cases of Al-Maqaleh and Al-Yawm newspaper, and jailed
journalists Fouad Rashid, Salah Al-Saqaladi as well as that of Al-Raboui who
was assassinated on 9 February.
syndicate has been calling for the Attorney General to put a stop to the
mistreatment of Al-Maqaleh and to allow him access to medication due to his
deteriorating health. But court officials have continued his criminal
prosecution, despite evidence of crimes of abduction and reliance on charges
that the defence says are trumped up. A hearing last Saturday had to be
postponed due to his failing health.
the trial, prosecutors alleged in the indictment, that the arrest was ordered
by them, while the Attorney General had assured the syndicate in the early days
of the kidnapping of Al-Maqaleh that he did not issue any arrest warrant
"The anger of
Yemeni journalists at the treatment of Mohamed Al-Maqaleh and
others is understandable," said White. "Now the international community must
raise their voices in this case to highlight the horrific abuse of journalists
and intellectuals in the country."
For more information contact the IFJ at
+32 2 235 2207
The IFJ represents
over 600,000 journalists in 125 countries worldwide