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International groups call for terrorism charges against threatened journalist to be dropped

(IFJ/IFEX) -The following is a 19 May 2008 IFJ media release:

Journalists Unions from the Arab World and Iran Call for Yemen Journalist, Al Khaiwani, to Be Cleared of Terrorism Charges

Journalists' Unions and Associations representing thirteen different countries from throughout the Arab World and Iran meeting in Casablanca at a regional meeting of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called upon the Yemeni authorities to drop charges against journalist Al Khaiwani and to take measures to guarantee his safety.

This call is also supported by the National Union of Journalists in the United Kingdom and Ireland, the Deutscher Journalisten-Verband, and Deutsche Journalistinnen- und Journalisten-Union (dju) in ver.di and the East African Journalists' Association.

Ten months ago Al Khaiwani, editor in chief of Al Shora newspaper and Al Shora Net, was charged with association to a terrorist group by a state security court. His trial concluded two weeks ago and the judgment is expected to be announced on Wednesday 21st May.

The IFJ and its affiliate, the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate, believe he is being prosecuted for his professional work. The prosecution claimed that photos found in his possession demonstrate his association with a terrorist group, but the IFJ and YJS believe that the photos were obtained through an intermediary and as part of his legitimate journalistic investigations.

Since he was charged Al Khaiwani has also received different threats, some of which made while he was in the court room.

The IFJ urges the Yemen legal system to clear Al Khaiwani of all charges and to enhance its independence and distance itself from the political mobilisation against independent and opposition journalists.

The IFJ is repeating its calling on the Yemeni president to stop all harassment Al Khaiwani is subjected to and to protect him and guarantee his safety.

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries worldwide.

Updates the Al Khaiwani (Al-Khaiwani) case: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/87587

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