2011-03-15 Journalists Expelled from #Yemen & Al Jazeera Journalist Threatened with Kidnapping of Children

WL Central continues its updates on Yemen, with new items added at the top. All times are based off of Sanaa time in Yemen. You can contact me on Twitter @kgosztola or by email at kgosztola@hotmail.com.

Current time and date in Sanaa:

Tuesday, March 15

Image9:22 PM Journalist Iona Craig files this firsthand report on covering the uprising in Yemen Craig’s report details the worsening conditions for not just the people of Yemen but also journalists:

I crept home to my bed, exhausted after two busy days of covering the sudden upsurge of violence in the capital. Unlike the previous two mornings my wake up call was not an early morning text message telling of gunfire, attacks or impending violence from activists at the university encampment, now the centre stage of the anti-government protests, but this time came from friend and fellow journalist Laura Kasinof.

Armed police had raided the house I’d left just a few hours earlier, arresting four journalist friends. During the next few frantic calls to contacts with friends in high places their location remained a mystery. The political security and police denied they had them and still hours later the British embassy had no idea where they were being held. Then reports came through that they were at the Immigration Authority, but would be released and given a few days to sort out their paper work. Moments later these hopes were dashed when they were spotted at the airport.

The journalists deported were: “Oliver Holmes (Wall Street Journal, Time) Portia Walker (Daily Telegraph, Washington Post) Haley Sweetland Edwards who had returned to Yemen for a few weeks, (Los Angeles Times, Atlantic) and Joshua Maricich, a climbing enthusiast, photographer and researcher who had recently written a government supported book on Yemen.”

Committee to Protect Journalists posts on the expulsion of journalists Oliver Holmes says, "I'm positive that this is related to the fact that all four of us have been reporting about the upswing of violence against protesters." Edwards says "their expulsion was a clear indication that the crackdown against protesters will intensify 'and there's no one here who's going to see it.'"

The journalists had press visas but were "put on a flight to Istanbul." CPJ further reports, "Government supporters continue to intimidate local reporters. On Saturday, a group of about 20 people believed to be government supporters went to the Journalists Syndicate in Sana'a and threatened to burn it down, according to two local journalists and an item posted on the syndicate's website."

Reported days ago but should be highlighted and emphasized: Nerve gas has been used on protesters.

The Guardian’s report on the four foreign journalists expelled

Al Jazeera reports that one of their correspondents, Ahmed Shalafi, has been threatened with the kidnapping of his children for continuing to cover the uprising. Shalafi has been monitored closely by the Yemen government. President Saleh does not want the “chaos” of his country’s people to make it out to the world. He has been using force to prevent and deter protests.

Also, from the same report, the latest on the protests is that hundreds of thousands attended rallies in 12 counties in north and south Yemen. Sit-ins, rallies continue.

Ministry of Information, according to Saba News, denies four journalists were deported A source that provided information for the news report suggests four “foreigners” were hiding and living in popular districts and were posing as reporters without permits or authorization. They were violating visa laws and residence laws in Yemen.

Blogger Afrah Nasser’s “life-threatening” message, which possibly came from someone in the Yemen government:

It seems that peaceful discussion with you won't work out. Even though the meetings you had with ???!!! that seemed nice and respectful and that the other party was kind to you, you see to keep on not wanting to live in peace and security with your poor mother who worked hard and scarified a lot for you and your sister's sake; your sister who is abroad. Your mother did many personal sacrifices to provide decent education for you and your sister and make you decent educated people that every one envies her about. However, it seems the saying "... ..." applies to you. I wish that Mrs. @ # $% Is your role model in life; so don't disagree with her and listen to all her orders because she knows better than you do and knows better how to treat people than you do and

I don't think there is any other person knows what's best for you than your mother. Gosh! I wish this lady to be my mother so I could whatever it takes to make her happy.

Anyways, the past will be forgotten, not for the sake of anything but only for the sake of your poor mother who fought a lot for you and you awarded her with this award; that's to deprive her easily of one of her family member because of your irresponsibility and recklessness. We don't want her to lose all what she earned for the past years.
I wish you received my message ... ..

Wake up, waaaaaaaaaaake up! Don't make your mother and your sister pay the price of your recklessness, you educated lady!

Nasser has been uploading photos and posting on the uprising. She has made calls for revolution and is a journalist for the Yemen Observer.

Yemen Times reports the youth movements are consolidating. A coordination council was formed and issued a list of seven conditions that must be met for demonstrations to come to an end.

It’s important to note from the article that the US is not supporting the uprising. They are backing Saleh. Ambassador to Yemen Gerald M. Feierstein is quoted saying, “Our problem is that the [Yemeni] people are demanding [the ouster of Saleh] without any idea how they will manage the government and prevent a disaster for the Yemeni people.”

Protesters write open letter to President Obama.

As spiritual leaders of our community, we are deeply concerned about violence against peaceful protesters in Yemen, including credible medical reports about the use of neurotoxic agents in violation of the Geneva convention. Although you did not create the policy of befriending corrupt dictators who kill and torture their citizens, you will still be held morally accountable for the suffering inflicted by those the US befriends.

For years your predecessor in the White House told us that hostility towards America in the Arab world arose from the fact that "They hate our freedoms." Now we see peaceful civilians around the Arab and Muslim world who are giving their lives for free and fair elections, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, habeas corpus and the right of free association. If we truly support these values, not only for ourselves in the privileged West but for others around the world, we cannot stand silent when unarmed protesters are attacked by the army, security forces, riot police or thugs. Please speak out in protection of the people of Yemen and Bahrain. The war crimes must stop.

Reuters reports “tribesmen” prevented technicians from repairing an oil pipeline in the central province of Maarib. Several oil and gas companies operate in this mountainous area.

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