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Critical journalist shot by security forces

(ANHRI/IFEX) - The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information is deeply disturbed by ongoing practices hostile to press freedom in Yemen, including the arrest of journalist and internet activist Yahya Bamahfouz, manager of the website Hadhramawt boards, in Mukalla, and the gun attack on journalist Saleh Khamis bin Mehanna by security forces in the same city.

Criminal investigation forces arrested Bamahfouz at his home in the city of Mukalla, in Hadhramawt province, on the morning of 12 May 2009. They seized his computer, along with some personal electronic devices, without giving an explanation, before taking him to an unknown location.

Bin Mehanna was shot when military forces in Mukalla began chasing him. When security forces began shooting, he returned fire, ending the chase.

An independent journalist known for his critical writing, bin Mehanna had been harassed in the past for his criticism of the government. This is the second time in less than a year that he has been the target of security forces. In June 2008, police stormed his house, terrorizing his family with complete impunity. After escaping a previous gun attack by security forces, he bought a gun to defend himself.

The Arabic Network for Human Rights strongly condemns these attacks and is deeply disturbed by the escalation of such assaults on Yemeni journalists.

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