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Thursday, 25 April 2013

Yemen journalists reportedly face escalating attacks

Local press freedom group launches campaign to free jailed journalist 

By: Konstantin Balev, IPI Contributor

Activists and journalists hold posters of journalist Abdulelah Haidar Shaia during a protest to demand his release from prison, in front of the headquarters of the Political Security in Sanaa April 11, 2013. A Yemeni state security court sentenced Shaia in January 2011 to five years in prison after it convicted him of supporting al Qaeda. REUTERS/Mohamed al-Sayaghi

VIENNA, April 25, 2013 - The International Press Institute (IPI) today condemned the attempted assassination of journalist Mansour Nour in Yemen and urged authorities to take adequate steps in combating the persisting violence reporters face in the country.

A few days after the attempted bombing of the headquarters of Yemen Shabab TV and Al Masdar newspaper, the Freedom Foundation for Media Freedom & Development in Yemen raised its level of media freedom risk to ‘orange’ (the second highest), following further violent acts carried out against journalists in Yemen.

On April 17, Mansour Nour, a journalist for the September 26 newspaper, was shot at by gunmen in the Dar Saad district of the city of Aden, according to a report by the Yemen Post. The Freedom Foundation, citing a statement from Nour's son, said that the assailants shot at the journalist from a car as he was heading to his office. 

Nour was hit three times in his right leg, which later had to be amputated, according to the Freedom Foundation

The attempted assassination of Nour was not an isolated event. In fact, the Freedom Foundation reported many other attacks against journalists in Yemen this month, including the attempted assassination of Al Ahali journalist Nasser Ali in Al Baydha city; the beating of cameraman Abdullah Ahmad Shaye; the attempted abduction of Mareb Press reporter Mohammed Al-Hudhaifi’s son;  and violent telephone threats made against Al-Oula editor Mohammed Ayish.

IPI Deputy Director Anthony Mills said: “We condemn the shooting of Mansour Nour and are alarmed at the level of violence that is reportedly being perpetrated against Yemen’s journalists. The cycle of violence continues because the authorities have failed to bring the attackers to justice, and we call on them to take immediate action.”

IPI further expressed its support for a campaign launched on April 13 by the Freedom Foundation for Media Freedom & Development in Yemen, which calls for the release of Abdulelah Haider Shaia.  Shaia is a freelance journalist who is apparently being punished for his coverage of the U.S. drone program in Yemen. The Freedom Foundation has launched a petition for the journalist’s release which can be signed on this website.  In the absence of evidence linking Shaia to actual terrorist activities, IPI has repeatedly called for the journalist to be released.

 
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