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Opposition newspaper banned

(ANHRI/IFEX) - Cairo, 4 December 2010 - The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) denounced the Yemeni political security organisation (intelligence) for preventing the distribution of "elThowry" newspaper, a publication of the Yemeni opposition socialist party in Aden, southern Yemen. The newspaper had reported on recent arrests in Aden. A number of citizens were detained as they were celebrating Independence Day which happened to coincide with the days of the Gulf Cup football competition, "Khaleeji 20".

On 3 December, the paper's distribution van was heading to Aden when it was stopped at the "alEnd" inspection point at the city entrance. Political security officials seized all copies of the paper. They gave the driver his due pay and told him the newspaper was banned for covering the crackdown on the citizens in connection with the "Khaleeji 20" football competition held in Aden.

ANHRI expressed deep sorrow that the seizure of a paper was seen as the only way to settle a difference between the Yemeni government and its opposition. Freedom of expression must be provided to all citizens and the government should resort to other means to respond to opposition instead of gagging and banning a newspaper that reported on incidents taking place in southern Yemen.

ANHRI said, "If the Yemeni government judges that arresting citizens in Aden is a shameful act that should be concealed from the public, why did the government assault and arrest them in the first place? This suggests that security is the party that acted wrongly and assaulted citizens, not the newspaper which reported on the assault".

ANHRI warns that seizing and gagging the media will only result in more violence in Yemen and the government is the prime actor responsible for that. Violence only results in more violence. The Yemeni government must learn that unity in Yemen mandates tolerating different views and respecting the right of all citizens to peacefully express themselves.

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