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Bomb attack targets Yemeni TV outlets

The International Press Institute (IPI) today condemned the attempted bombing of the headquarters of Yemen Shabab TV and al-Masdar newspaper and called upon authorities to investigation the attacks and bring the perpetrators to justice.

A report from the Freedom Foundation in Yemen, which quoted Yemen Shabab TV and al-Masdar newspaper, stated that on Wednesday an employee had found an explosive device weighing roughly 400 grams in the building where the two media outlets are situated.

The bomb had been placed in the stairs window on the third floor of the building.

The police and the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) were immediately informed and sent an explosives expert who was able to disarm the bomb just minutes before it was supposed to go off, the Freedom Foundation said. The police officer reportedly said the device resembled those employed by military agency services and was strong enough to destroy the whole building and cause human casualties.

Khaled al-Hammadi, head of Freedom Foundation for Media Freedom & Development in Yemen, expressed concern over the effectiveness of any investigation into the matter and emphasized the failure of Yemen's security authorities in investigating the numerous violent attacks against journalists that have occurred in recent years.

IPI Deputy Director Anthony Mills said: “We condemn the attempted violent attack against the headquarters of Yemen Shabab TV and al-Masdar newspaper and urge authorities in Yemen to conduct a serious investigation into the matter and bring the perpetrators to justice. The authorities should show that they are serious about protecting journalists and investigating attacks against the media.”

On April 13, the Freedom Foundation for Media Freedom & Development in Yemen launched a campaign for the release of Abdulelah Haider Shaia, a freelance journalist whose fellow journalists believe is being punished for his coverage of the U.S. drone program in Yemen. In the absence of evidence linking Shaia to actual terrorist activities, IPI has repeatedly called for the journalist to be released.

Shaia was first arrested in July 2010 and eventually convicted of recruiting for terrorist organizations and sentenced to five years in prison. In Feb 2011 he was pardoned by former Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh, but was denied release following the reported direct intervention of U.S. President Barack Obama. He remains in prison to this day, where his health is reportedly deteriorating.

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