February 09, 2006
Yemen Exploits Cartoon Controversy to Close the Yemen Observer
The Prime Minister of Yemen has revoked the license of the English language online and print newspaper, The Yemen Observer. Technically he doesnt have the authority to do that, but its Yemen.
The despotic, corrupt, anti-democratic, terrorist supporting Yemeni regime finds it in its interests to discourage moderation. And further, it may be looking to shut down this English language source of information about Yemen.
YO "I am very surprised by this development," Mohammed Al-Asadi, editor-in-chief of the Yemen Observer said. "They want to close the newspaper in response to our efforts and continuous calls for understanding, tolerance and accepting the apologies of the Danish people, officials, and editors. We have received dozens of apologies from Denmark.
"We are totally against the publication of cartoons and at the same time we should accept apologies that have been several times made by the Danish editors. We should.
We, at the Yemen Observer, believe in dialogue if misunderstanding takes place anywhere on any issue and believe in co-existence," Al-Asadi added.
Here's their current editorial, "The Art of Losing Opportunities."
This is an outragous abuse of power and manipulation of popular sentiment to target those advocating dialog.
Update: Khalid Solman, the editor of the opposition paper al-Thoury, and several writers were found guilty of the offense of insulting President Saleh. The editor received a two year suspended jail sentence. Two writers got a one year suspended jail term, and all of them are not allowed to write for 6 months.
So now if the Yemen Observer (whose license was revoked for publishing the insulting cartoons) is allowed to republish while al-Thouryâ€™s staff's sentence remains in force, it will mean that in Yemen, its a bigger crime to insult Saleh than to insult Mohammed.