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Concern over media safety in Yemen after murder attempt on journalist

A car explosion in the capital Sanaa on 20 November 2013 left Mohammed Al Imad, a senior journalist, seriously injured.
A car explosion in the capital Sanaa on 20 November 2013 left Mohammed Al Imad, a senior journalist, seriously injured.

IFJ/© صحيفة الهوية

UPDATE: Yemeni security forces attack photojournalist Yehya Arhab while covering a protest in Sana'a (ANHRI, 2 December 2013)

On 22 November 2013, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) strongly condemned the incident in which a car explosion in the capital Sanaa on Wednesday 20 November 2013 left Mohammed Al Imad, a senior journalist, seriously injured. This was the latest in a series of attacks which targeted journalists and media premises in recent days.

"This incident was an outright murder attempt and needs to be investigated with the utmost rigour," said IFJ President Jim Boumelha. "Our colleague was extremely fortunate to escape with his life but he cannot be considered out of danger as long as those who tried to kill him remain free."

According to the Yemeni Journalists' Syndicate (YJS), an IFJ affiliate which also condemned the attack, an explosive device was attached under the car of al-Imad, editor-in-chief of Alhawyah newspaper, which was parked outside his office. It went off as he opened the car's door, leaving him with severe injuries.

In a statement, the YJS expressed concern that journalists are becoming targets in violent attacks. The booby-trapped car incident followed another attempt arson attack on two other newspapers, the Al Oulaye and Al Sharea, on the evening of Monday 18 November. Two masked men reportedly set fire on the warehouse area located below the newspapers' offices but staff present on the premises managed to put the fire out with the help of neighbours.

The IFJ backs its affiliate's call for drastic measures conducive to a safer environment for journalists in Yemen through a public commitment to zero tolerance for violence against media. The Federation says the call is timely as these attacks are happening at a time where the world journalists' community is marking the International Day against Impunity for crimes targeting journalists on 23 November and three weeks after the launch of an IFJ global campaign to end impunity.

"These incidents are a reminder of the need to clamp down on violence against journalists, lest it become entrenched in Yemen," added Beth Costa, IFJ General Secretary. "The Yemeni Government is on notice of what risks happening if they allow impunity for attacks on journalists to take hold in the country. We urge them to act now before more innocent lives are lost to men of violence."

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