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Journalist arrested

(RSF/IFEX) - On 26 June 2002, RSF called for the immediate release of Yemeni journalist Ibrahim Hussen, who was arrested on 21 June by secret police in Sanaa after criticising the government.

"Once again, the Yemeni authorities are using strong-arm tactics to intimidate the opposition press, especially when they denounce corruption," said RSF Secretary-General Robert Ménard in a letter to Interior Minister Rashad al-Alimi. "This is the second journalist arrested in Yemen in the past month," Ménard noted.

Ménard also called for the release of journalist Abdul-Rahim Mohsen, of the daily "Al-Thawri", an organ of the Socialist Party, who remains in detention (see IFEX alert of 6 June 2002). RSF recalled that three journalists had been arrested in Yemen over the past year.

Hussen, who worked for several local publications, including "Al-Thawri", was arrested by plainclothes police at the offices of the opposition Yemeni Unionist Party (an alliance between the Socialist and Communist Parties). According to the weekly "Yemen Times", he was forcibly taken to secret police headquarters.

Hussen's arrest may be linked to articles he wrote criticising a government report on human rights and accusing the authorities of corruption. Officials refused to comment on his arrest.

Hussen, along with Mohsen and Khaled Salman, "Al-Thawri"'s managing editor, were convicted on 4 June of "religious sedition" and "harming national unity" and given five-month suspended prison sentences, as a result of articles the newspaper published in February. The journalists have appealed the ruling.

The Interior Ministry has refused to disclose details of where Mohsen is being held or for what reason. The journalist is thought to have been arrested in connection with articles he wrote about government corruption, human rights violations and the wave of arrests in Yemen that followed the 11 September attacks in the United States.

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