Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Prisoner of Conscience

Jane at Armies of Liberation sent me this via email:

(Dear Friends and Fellow Freedom Lovers,
[...] we the blogosphere recieved the following letter from Mr. Abdulkarim al-Khaiwani smuggled out of the central prison in Sana’a, Yemen.

I have been advocating for his release since his imprisonment in September as I am convinced that he is a politcal prisoner. He is a newspaper editor, a pro-democracy advocate, and a Yemeni patriot. There are several articles on my sidebar that explain his case more fully.

Kindly read his letter, portions of which are deleted as he is already in jail for insulting the president. If upon hearing from him directly, you wish to stand in solidarity with this man, kindly sign this petition. Futhermore, please feel free to copy the letter to your site and link to the petition not to me.

The petition will close on March 20th. Please consider taking a stand in support of freedom and a free press. For a professional and objective view of his case, the sidebar at the petition site links both the World Association of Newspaper Editors February protest letter and the Amnesty International January Appeal page. The Amnesty page carries his photo. The poor guy thinks I’m a real journalist but lets see what the blogosphere can do here.

Dear Ms. Jane Novack,
The American journalist and political analyst,

I hereby express my deepest gratitude and most sincere thanks from behind the bars of the central prison in Sana’a, the capital of Republic of Yemen, for your articles on the freedom of press issues including my imprisonment.

Your opinions have genuinely touched my and the reader’s conscience as you have expressed your commitment to support issues of rights and freedoms and emphasized the true understanding of the Middle East issue. Hence you know well that freedom, democracy, and equality are the key solutions to the region’s problems.

Ms. Jane,

Since fifteen years, we have experienced democracy and multi-party system as well as breathed the fresh air of freedom, all which are the achievements of Yemen Unification. Soon later, a regression occurred in this experience after the summer of 1994 civil war. These achievements were emptied from their core cause leaving a margin of press freedom through which we battled to defend democracy, freedom, human rights, equal citizenship, and independent judiciary system, all being conditions for a better future and means to combat corruption and absence of law.

############ force, power, and oppression####### neglecting concepts of separation of powers. The head of the judiciary system is the president of the republic############ Here I am, in a battle which can least be described as unfair. My crime is public humiliation of the president. ########## I was deprived even from my right to self-defense. ########### you can imagine how I was handled by prison and police officers.

Furthermore, solidarity with my issue was prohibited and people in solidarity were punished and even terrorized to visit me in prison or declare their solidarity. In addition, the journalists’ syndicate is falling under tremendous pressures. I believe in democracy, freedom, equality and rights and am willing to sacrifice for their sake simply because I do not wish my children to suffer dictatorship and I will strive to provide them with a better future.

Dear Madam,

Leaders in our region transform into Gods. They even become to believe in their fake holiness which we aim to shatter so that they know they are humans just like us. Democracy and freedom are not granted by a leader or a regime, it is a world-wide human achievement of all the free people on earth.

According to the official interpretation of what is considered criticism of the president - based on this fake holiness- my criticism of the president is a crime that can cost me my life , not necessarily through Justice, but probably in prison by a murder convict. This could be attempted again inside or outside prison at any time. Nevertheless, I am not occupied by this matter, but more occupied with deep-rooting the concept of freedom.

I am also concerned that all Yemeni journalist gain the legal commitment of not being prone to imprisonment because of their opinions. I am also concerned that no other journalist will be imprisoned after me and suffer all that I have suffered. This we can achieve through your support and the support of all democracy and freedom advocates in the world as individuals or organizations.

Dear Madam,

Democracy and freedom are the global language with which I address you, probably too intimately and in detail which might have inconvenienced you. But, my trust in your values and your openness encouraged me to convene this information on our reality and issues to you. I highly value your writings and your advocacy role to democracy and defending rights. ###########

I repeat my thanks to you Ms. Jane Novack, and apologize for consuming your precious time in reading this letter.

With my sincere regards,

Abdul Kareem Al Khaiwany
Central Prison- Sana’a

(This letter was sent through ############)

(PLEASE CONSIDER SIGNING THE PETITION. It only says we support a free press. This guy deserves to hold his kids again. He has no advocate but us. If the free world does not throw its weight behind him, no one will.)

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