Reporters Without Borders notes that the writer and journalist Ali Al-Abdallah was freed yesterday (20 July).
Opposition journalist Ali Al-Abdallah arrested again
Reporters Without Borders firmly condemns opposition writer and journalist Ali Al-Abdallah’s arrest just seven weeks after his release under a general amnesty on 30 May. He was detained when security forces raided his home in Qatana, 25 km south of the capital, at around 9 a.m. yesterday.
A signatory of the Damascus Declaration who was arrested in December 2007, Abdallah was not released when he completed a 30-month sentence and was subsequently given an addition jail term, remaining in prison until last May’s amnesty.
Reporters Without Borders also learned that Ghadi Frances, the Lebanese daily Al-Safir’s Syria correspondent, was arrested on 16 July in connection with a report and an opinion piece she had written about the previous day’s demonstrations in Hama.
Al-Safir and another Lebanese daily, Al-Akhbar, have been once again banned in Syria as a result of their coverage of the demonstrations and the ensuing repression. Both newspapers normally take a pro-Syrian line.
16.07.2011 - Journalists targeted by security forces in Syria, Jordan and Yemen
The authorities arrested a large number of intellectuals and activists, including journalists and bloggers, in the Damascus district of Midan on 13 July for participating in pro-democracy demonstrations. Reporters Without Borders calls for their immediate and unconditional release.
The detained journalists and bloggers included:
- Bland Hamza, a blogger and activist
- Iyad Shurabagi, vice president of the Arab Union of Young Journalists
- Mouzafar Souleiman, 35, a photo-journalist who is the daily Al-Watan’s photo editor (http://ar-ar.facebook.com/FreeMuzaffarSalman?ref=nf#!/FreeMuzaffarSalman...)
Supporters of President Bashar Al-Assad attacked the novelist Nabil Souleiman’s home in northwestern port city of Latakia because he participated in a meeting of Syrian intellectuals in Damascus on 27 June.
Maarten Zeegers, a Dutch citizen who was acting as an undercover reporter for the Dutch daily NRC Handelslad and the Belgian Dutch-language daily De Standard, was deported to Turkey on 11 July after being detained for five hours when he went to renew his resident’s permit.
Reporters Without Borders has learned that Champress.net website owner and editor Ali Jamalo’s home in the northwestern city of Idleb was attacked and torched by protesters critical of his support for the regime.
Nine journalists were injured in Amman on 15 July when the security forces tried to separate government supporters from demonstrators calling for reforms.
A journalist told Reporters Without Borders that, on the eve of the demonstration, the authorities had asked journalists to wear orange vests bearing the word Press that were provided by the police.
During the demonstration, security agents wearing blue uniforms different from police uniforms deliberately targeted journalists, especially photographers, who were wearing the orange vests. Kareem Fahim, who works for the New York Times, was given a severe beating by around 10 of these security agents.
The president of the Union of Journalists was quoted afterwards as saying that a “trap was set for journalists.”
Reporters Without Borders firmly condemns this use of violence by the security forces and calls on the Jordanian authorities to carry out an investigation into the incident and to punish those responsible.
A woman activist and seven police officers were also injured.
Copies of independent daily Al-Oula from Sanaa were seized at a checkpoint at the entrance to the southern province of Taiz on 13 July, one day after 11,000 copies of the newspaper Akhbar Al-Youm bound for the provinces of Taiz and Ibb were seized by security forces at another Taiz checkpoint.
Access to the Aden Online news website, which is edited by the journalist Abdel Raqib Al-Hadiani, was blocked on 12 July without any reason being given.
Ibrahim Al-Ba’dani, a journalist based in Ibb province, received death threats after covering the death of a boy who was killed by a shot fired by a supporter of President Ali Abdallah Saleh during a rally organized to celebrate a speech by the president. The boy’s father, who is a Saleh supporter, blamed Ba’dani and opposition supporters for his death.
Glen Johnson, a New Zealander journalist who had been held since 25 June, was put on a flight to the United Arab Emirates on 6 July.