WJWC cautions against repressing freedom of expression
Hundreds of activists, journalists, politicians and enforced disappeared persons on Tuesday took part in the 24th sit-in which was arranged by Women Journalists Without Chains called to The protesters called to release Alayam newspaper, the journalists Mohammed al-Maqleh, Salah al-Saqladi and Fuad Rashid, and put an end to repressions of Almasdar and Aldeyar newspapers.
MP and spokesman of the Change and Justice Movement Sultan al-Sama'e expressed his solidarity with freedom of expression and all journalists who are subjected to infringements.
He stressed the importance of peaceful demonstrations to have rights and hold those who violate the rights of journalists, activists and civilians accountable.
For her part, Chairwoman of WJWC Tawkol Karman affirmed that the president and government should shoulder their responsibility toward freedom of expression and protection of press freedom.
"We are here to express our solidarity with fellow journalists and leaders of opinions who are subjected to detention due to the expression of their opinions" Karman said.
"Unfortunately, bullets, gunpowder and conflicts are widespread, but newspapers, their editors, intellectuals, artists, activists and politicians are harassed" she added.
"Given that media blackout and preventing journalists and activists from attending the trials, a host of prominent journalists and activists are unfairly prosecuted and hundreds of people enforcedly disappeared from southern governorates" she added.
"Dear fellows, to when this regime will continue barring people from their right of freedom of expression and other legitimate rights? To when the regime will continue ignoring the southern case? The southern case requires a fair solution, not repression, killing, detentions and terrorism" Karman went on.
"Several pioneering journalists were prosecuted by the State Security Court. They are our fellow journalists Salah al-Saqladi, Fuad Rashid and Ahmed al-Rubaizi? Do you know what are their charges? They are prosecuted because they covered events of the Southern Movement. They wrote about suffering of the southerners, corruption and looting".
" The journalist Mohammed al-Maqaleh has been disappeared for two months, and al-Adha Eid is about to come, but his children will not share other people in their celebration of this religious occasion because their father is still absent. The authorities are speaking about social fabric, humanity and conscience. However, they infringe all things. Why have not they declared about the destination of al-Maqleh? Why do not they prosecute al-Maqleh and other journalists in a normal court? The judiciary should be independent and we will accept its judgments".
"Alayam newspaper has been suspended for eight months and the journalists al-Maqaleh and al-Saqaladi are still held. Alayam is suspended because it was the voice of oppressed and persecuted people, because it covered peaceful pretest in the South in a daily basis. The authorities closed down Alayam because they thought they will be able to gag the voices of southerners. However, they are so foolish because such behaviors will make the southerners more insistent to have justice and freedoms".
Alayam made clear that Almasdar has been suspended for three weeks and its editor-in-chief Sameer Jubran was banned from writing for one year and the contributor Munier al-Mawri was sentenced to two years in prison and imposed a lifetime ban on practicing journalism in Yemen.
Though its editor-in-chief was replaced, the Information Minister still refuses to allow the issuing of the newspaper on vague charges.
They want to silence journalism which marked the narrow margin of Yemen democracy in the past stage.
Karman addressed the newspapers of Alayam and Almasdar and the journalists Rashid, al-Saqladi, Rubaiz, al-Maqaleh and leaders of the peaceful Southern Movement saying: We trust that you are stronger and wiser, and bet on your insistence and struggle. We believe that you will win and the ruler will finally be forced to respond to your demands.
"In our 24th set-in, we address President Ali Abdullah Saleh, Chairman of the National Security Organization Ali al-Anisi, Chairman of the Political Security. If you don't stop your violations the against constitution, if you do not release Alayam and Almasdar newspapers and the journalists Mohammed al-Maqaleh, Fuad Rashid, Salah al-Saqladi and al-Rubaizi, if you do not halt your continuing infringements against journalists, writers and leaders of opinions, then our sit-ins will not be limited to one day per week, on Tuesday, we will extend our activities to demand our rights.
We advise you to respond to our demands. You should approve your patriotism. Yemenis faced a lot of hardships and can't afford to suffer further.
Naif al-Qanis, a spokesman of the Joint Meeting Parties, praised the protesters of the Freedom Square, urging them to continue their sit-ins and peaceful struggles, asserting that they are going in the right direction which will lead them to justice, equality, and equal citizenship. The constitution and laws should be freed because they have been manipulated for numerous years.
He expressed his solidarity with the Joint Meeting Parties, al-Masdar and Alayam newspapers, enforced disappeared persons, pointing out that complaints and tragedies are widespread across Yemen.
Editor-in –Chief of Almasdar Sameer Jubran delivered a speech in the sit-in, affirming that the charges directed against the journalists Salah al-Saqladi and Fuad Rashid are the same charges which all journalists face in courts. He suggested to transfer the sit-ins to the Presidential Palace in al-Saba'aeen area, emphasizing that the sit-ins will be more effective there.
Mohammed Musaed al-Rada'ae, Assistant Secretary General of The Nasserist Unionist People's Organization said that the authorities only kill good people and detain intellectuals. Meanwhile, they cannot detain saboteurs and those who destabilize the nation.
He said that the regime lost its legitimacy when it gagged mouths, detained and kidnapped journalists and activists. It turned into to a corrupt regime which spoils and destroys the nation. So, they should cede power because it could not shoulder its responsibilities toward its people.
Meanwhile, Secretary General of the Yemeni Organization for Defending Rights and Freedoms Ali al-Dailami stressed the importance of freedom of expression, releasing newspapers, detainees and enforced disappeared persons. " The enforced disappearance is a constitutional crime" he added.
In the conclusion of the sit-in, a statement was issued by the family of the detained Journalist Mohammed al-Maqleh in which they demanded civil society organizations and politicians to intensify their efforts to identify the destination of his detention, stressing that they would continue their sit-ins until he is released.