The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)
today accused the Yemeni authorities of waging a campaign of intimidation
against media after journalist Tawakul Karman was arrested by security forces on
Saturday night and detained before being released on Monday. The authorities
claimed she was held over allegations of "organising
unauthorised gatherings and marches and inciting riots and disorder".
"The journalist is the latest victim of the
Yemeni government-led campaign to stifle public debate on the country's affairs,"
said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "Journalists are citizens and are
entitled to express their opinion without being harassed."
According to the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate
(YJS), an IFJ affiliate, Karman was arrested as she was returning home with her
husband. She had reportedly participated in demonstrations in support of the
recent uprising in Tunisia and calling for political reforms in Yemen.
The YJS, which condemned her arrest and described
the Government's action as an attempt "to confiscate freedom of expression and
opinion," also accused the authorities of having declared war against the
press, journalists and civil society activists.
The IFJ backs the YJS and Karman who vowed to
continue fighting for democratic rule in Yemen and warns of public unrest against
regimes which fail to respond to legitimate demands.
"Tolerance and dialogue are necessary to avoid
unrest," added White. "A free press offers a forum for exchange of views
whether they are shared by the Government or not."
The IFJ last week condemned the ruling of a Yemeni court in
Sanaa sentencing journalist Abdelelaah Shaie to a five year jail term and two
more years under house arrest. The journalist who worked for the Yemeni
official news agency, Saba, was accused of collaborating with the terrorist
group, Al-Qaeda, which he has strenuously denied.
more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 07
The IFJ represents more than
600.000 members in 125 countries