Yemen: A New Blow To Press Freedom The Arabic Network Condemns Sentencing The Journalist Abdul Ilah Sha’ee To 5 Years By A Special Court
The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information today condemned sentencing the Yemeni journalist and media figure, Abdul Ilah Haidar, Sha’ee to 5 years by the Criminal specialized court “exceptional state security” on Tuesday, January 18th , 2010. The court imposed house arrest for two years after term completion. As well another citizen ,Abdel Karim al-Shami, was sentenced to two years on charges of joining an armed group.
The case dates back to August 16th , 2010 when security raided the neighborhood where the Abdul Ilah and Abdul Karim Al-Shami live . They were put to illegal detention for more than a month and subjected to torture. They were brought to trial on terror charges based on information obtained from their e-mail messages.
On the first hearing , both defendants refused to be tried until torture complaints were investigated , but the court did not respond to their request, prompting the defense team to withdraw after the third hearing . However, the court proceeded to sentence Sha’ee for 5 years and el-Shami for two years.
Abdul Ilah Sha’ee is a Yemeni reporter specialized in Qa’eda and other Islamic groups ‘affairs in Yemen. He was arrested earlier in July 2010 after an interview with alJazeera.
The Arabic Network said,” This harsh sentence is a blow to press freedom in Yemen. In addition to the the unfair trial, the journalist was illegally detained for a month , tortured and his email box hacked in an unashamed violation to privacy. In addition , he stood before a special court lacking all guarantees of a fair trial”.
“The court has to cancel these sentences and should forward both citizens to a normal court”, ANHRI added.
The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information urges all stakeholders of freedom of expression in the world to pressure the Yemeni government to stop its violations against freedom of expression and freedom of the press. The sentence against Shae’ee came shortly after the prevention distributing the partisan newspaper alThowry ,of the Socialist Yemeni Party in Aden ,in addition to numerous violations against media and press in Yemen during 2010.