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Journalist imprisoned for alleged "mental illness"

(RSF/IFEX) - On 21 November 2002, RSF expressed great concern over the reported imprisonment of Yemeni journalist Aref Mohsen al-Khewani on grounds of alleged "mental illness". The organisation called on the government to immediately explain the situation and report on his state of health.

The journalist, who is also an officer in the armed forces, was jailed in Sanaa's central prison in October and has not been charged or tried. RSF noted that if he is indeed mentally ill, as the authorities reportedly claim, then his human rights had been even more seriously violated and he should be released at once.

Al-Khewani, a non-commissioned officer, worked for the Defence Ministry's weekly newspaper "26 September" until he was dismissed in 1999. He then wrote for opposition papers. According to Yemeni sources, his salary has been frozen, the Yemeni journalists' union's mediation efforts have failed and his rights have been frequently violated.

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