Just before noon, a group of security forces clashed with
guards at the offices of Al-Ayyam, firing tear gas and bullets and wounding
at least two guards and killing the passerby, according to local and
international news reports. The raid is the latest development in a series of
attacks against Al-Ayyam and other independent publications
Bashraheel Bashraheel, general manager of Al-Ayyam, told CPJ that the firefight lasted for about an hour and that the wounded guards were taken to the city's main hospital. He said he is concerned for their safety and fears they will be arrested.
Abdullah Qayran, chief of security in Aden, told the Yemen News Web site that he sent a group of riot police to "execute a judicial order for [the editor-in chief] to appear in a court of law...but the guards opened fire on security [personnel]." Bashraheel denied that claim and said security forces attacked the compound, which also contains the homes of some of the staff, from multiple directions.
"We condemn in the strongest possible terms the violent
storming of Al-Ayyam," said Mohamed Abdel Dayem, CPJ's Middle East and
Editor-in-chief Hisham Bashraheel, his son Hani Bashraheel, and another Al-Ayyam staffer were summoned last week by the Sana'a prosecutor's office to answer accusations of provoking one of the newspaper's guards to kill an assailant in February 2008. The complaint was filed by the lawyer who represents the killed assailant's family.
The case stems from an incident on February 12, 2008, when a group of gunmen attacked Al-Ayyam's compound in Sana'a in an attempt to take over the building, Bashraheel's lawyers told CPJ. A military police officer claimed he owned the land on which the compound stood. Hisham Bashraheel, the paper's general manager, bought the plot of land in 1979, he told CPJ.
The summons for Hisham Bashraheel violates Yemeni law, which
states that citizens are to appear before the prosecutor in the town where they
reside, the lawyer said. Although Bashraheel lives in
and at least seven
other independent newspapers have been suspended by the government on
accusations of harming national unity and spreading hatred among the people of