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Security forces cordon off "Yemen Times" journalist's home

(RSF/IFEX) - RSF has condemned the actions of security forces in surrounding the home of journalist Hassan al-Zaidi since the start of August 2003, preventing him from leaving his residence. The operation was undoubtedly intended to intimidate Zaidi, the organisation said, while demanding an explanation for the operation.

In a telephone call to his newspaper, the independent "Yemen Times", Zaidi said he feared that he would be arrested soon. Two of his brothers, one aged 14, were already arrested some days ago, probably on 8 August. Zaidi said the arrests were illegal and accused the security forces of taking his brothers hostage.

The security forces claim they have put the journalist under surveillance because he belongs to the al-Zaidi tribe, which recently entered into a dispute with the government, prompting a wave of arrests of tribal members since the beginning of August.

However, Zaidi said he has been confined to his home because of his articles and not because of his membership in the al-Zaidi tribe. He has been arrested several times in recent years because of his articles in the "Yemen Times", which is published twice a week, but the journalist has never been prosecuted (see IFEX alerts of 24 and 20 September 2001).

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