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IFJ Condemns Reckless Use of Violence against Media House in Yemen

May 14, 2009

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has condemned the shocking disregard for safety of journalists and media staff who were caught in the crossfire of a battle between security forces and armed guards at a publishing house in Yemen.

"This is an appalling event where journalists and media staff have been endangered by the reckless use of violence," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "Troops should be withdrawn, all armed men stood down and all sides should respect the use of democratic means to resolve their differences."

According to reports, one man was killed and a number of others injured when security forces opened fire on the offices of the newspaper Alayyam, whose editor and publisher, Hisham Basharaheel, is facing arrest in a police investigation over a killing which took place last year.

Basharaheel is a fierce critic of the authorities and there is confusion over the attack on his newspaper which was surrounded by security forces yesterday. The publisher brought in his own armed security guards and a firefight broke out with journalists and other media staff trapped inside the building.

The IFJ fully supports the Yemeni Syndicate of Journalists (YJS), an IFJ affiliate, which is calling for an end to threats of violence and for the safety of journalists and media staff at the paper to be guaranteed.

"It is unconscionable to deliberately turn journalists' workplace into a battle ground," added White. "But, such an indiscriminate assault on civilian premises without clear warning for occupants to leave the place is the height of irresponsibility."

For more information contact:
International Federation of Journalists
Phone: +32 2 235 2207

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