IFJ Condemns Arrest of Journalist in Yemen

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.

For

more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 07

The IFJ represents more than

600.000 members in 125 countries