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Journalist slain

A Yemeni journalist, who wrote for several news media, including an opposition newspaper, was shot dead in his home on 13 February, according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). Press freedom violations have escalated in 2009 but this is the first time a journalist has been murdered in violence against independent media since North and South Yemen merged in 1990, says RSF.

Mohammed Shu'i Al-Rabu'i wrote several articles about the alleged activities of a criminal group, including child trafficking, and had received death threats linked to his reporting, says CPJ.

He was killed by five men who had previously been arrested for assaulting him in late 2009 but were released before charges were brought against them. The same five individuals now arrested for his murder are part of the criminal group he covered in his work, reports CPJ. Local authorities have promised to bring the killers to justice, says RSF.

For more than 10 years, Al-Rabu'i worked for "Al-Qahira" newspaper, published by the Islamic Reform Grouping (Al-Islah), the main opposition party. In legislative elections in 2003, Al-Islah won 22.6 per cent of the vote and 46 of the 301 seats in parliament, reports RSF.

Yemen was ranked 167th out of 175 countries in the RSF 2009 press freedom index.

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