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Editor abducted by Yemen forces over reports on airstrikes against civilians

Editor abducted by Yemen forces over reports on airstrikes against civilians
Onslaught: In this file photo released Monday, August 31, 2009 by the Yemeni army, a Yemeni soldier fires against targets of Yemeni Shiite rebels in Saada province, Yemen. While the U.S. is pressing Yemen hard to take action against an increasingly powerful al-Qaida, this turmoil-ridden nation is too busy dealing with other troubles - an escalating war with Shiite rebels that is creating chaos that is only helping the terror network flourish.

A leading editor in Yemen has been abducted by security forces. The Yemeni Journalists Syndicate (YJS) says that they are concerned for the safety of Editor Mohammed al Maqaleh who was allegedly abducted on September 17 in apparent retribution for reporting on the Sa'ada War.

Al Maqaleh is the editor for the opposition Socialist Party's website, Al Eshteraki. On Wednesday last, al Eshteraki reported on Yemeni military air strikes targeting civilians in an incident that killed 87 people and injured more than a hundred.

The victims were internal war refugees, mostly women and children, sheltering in an open field having escaped the fighting in Sa'ada City. The military launched a second air strike as the survivors fled to a nearby bridge.

On September 17, according to witness reports, five gun wielding masked men in a minibus intercepted al Maqaleh's car on Taiz Street in Sana'a. They bundled him into another vehicle. In dozens of instances, plain clothes intelligence operatives driving vehicles with military plates have snatched journalists off the street who have then "disappeared" and often tortured.

“We are particularly concerned for his safety and we call on the government to respect the journalists’ union demand that he be kept free from any form of intimidation or torture,” said Aidan White, International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) General Secretary. “He should be released without delay and his safety secured.”

There have been many reports of severe beatings, sexual assaults, threats to family, whipping and other forms of violence used again prisoners and kidnap victims in Yemen. Journalists fear that al Maqaleh may be subject to such treatment.

The targeting of journalists and suppression of newspapers and web sites has taken place at a time when the government is anxious not to have critical coverage of the ongoing Sa'ada War.

The Yemeni Centre for Human Rights expressed "grave concern" over the safety of Mohamed al-Maqaleh. In 2007, Mohammed al Maqaleh was imprisoned for several months for "disrespecting the judiciary" after he laughed at one moment during the trial of award winning journalist, Abdulkarim al Khaiwani, who was charged with subversion for writing about an earlier round of the Sa'ada war.

Date posted: September 22, 2009 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 575