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Two separate incidents involving a Yemeni journalist and an editor who suffered government persecution during the past month signal a disturbing warning for the state of freedom of expression in the country, report Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and Reporters sans frontières (RSF). On 8 September, Yemeni authorities detained Hassan al-Zaidi, a veteran reporter for the English language weekly "Yemen Times". On 16 September, an Aden criminal sentenced Feras Farouq al-Yafai, editor of the weekly "Al-Haqiqah", to three months in prison for allegedly insulting a government official.

Al-Zaidi was apparently detained on the orders of Marib Province governor Naji Abdullah al-Sufi, a source at the "Yemen Times" told CPJ. The journalist is currently being held incommunicado and his whereabouts are unknown. Though officials gave no reason for the arrest, sources at the "Yemen Times" believe that al-Zaidi is being detained in retaliation for his reporting on German diplomat Rainer Burns, who was kidnapped by armed gunmen on 27 July and remains a captive. Al-Zaidi was detained once before, on 10 June, and held for fifteen days before being released, according to CPJ.

On 16 September, in a separate but equally worrying case, an Aden criminal court found Feras Farouq al-Yafai, editor of the weekly "Al-Haqiqah", guilty of insulting and humiliating a public official, reports CPJ. Al-Yafai was sentenced to three months in prison and ordered to pay a 5,000 riyal (US$30) fine. The sentence stemmed from an article by Al-Yafai in the 2 August edition of "Al-Haqiqah", which falsely stated that the governor of Aden, Taha Ghanem, had resigned his post and fled the country. The case is currently under appeal. For more information, visit and">"> and

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