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Woman journalist freed but press freedom violations continue

(RSF/IFEX) - 24 January 2011 - Reporters Without Borders hails journalist and activist Tawakkol Karman's release today, two days after her arbitrary arrest in Sanaa. Charged with "inciting disorder and chaos" and organizing unauthorized demonstrations and marches, she was freed on condition that she not violate "public order and the law" again.

Karman has been a leading figure in a three-week-old wave of protests demanding political reform in Yemen, which has been inspired in part by the protest movement in Tunisia. She was freed after several thousand people participated in a sit-in outside the public prosecutor's office this morning to demand her release.

Aqil Al-Halali, a correspondent for the United Arab Emirates newspaper Al-Ittihad, was briefly arrested today for covering a march in support of Karman in Sanaa. He was questioned for half an hour and then released.

Today's issue of the newspaper Akhbar Aden was seized because of its coverage of clashes in Khormaksar (in the southern governorate of Aden) between police and demonstrators demanding South Yemen's secession. According to the newspaper's editor, officials said the issue was confiscated for containing separatist slogans.

Abdel Khaliq Al-Hawad, a journalist who works for Akhbar Aden, was arrested in Aden on 22 January as he tried to cover a demonstration staged by an opposition party and civil society organizations in protest against previous arrests of protesters and the army siege of the town of Ridfan.
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