x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Call to try reporter in Yemeni criminal court

The trial of a reporter accused of aiding al Qa'eda should be transferred to a different court to ensure he has a fair hearing, a group representing journalists demanded.

SANA'A // The trial of a reporter accused of aiding al Qa'eda should be transferred to a different court to ensure he has a fair hearing, a group representing journalists demanded yesterday.

Abdulelah Haidar, who works for the state-run Saba news agency, appeared before a special state security court on Tuesday accused of belonging to al Qa'eda and supporting the terror organisation. The special court, set up predominantly to deal with cases of terrorism and threats to national security, has been criticised by various rights groups for not allowing the accused to present a proper defence.

For this reason, the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate called for Haidar's case to be moved to a regular criminal court.

"We demand that Haidar is transferred to a criminal court because we believe the trial procedures before the state security court do not bring about justice to the defendants," said Marwan Damaj, the secretary general of the nongovernmental organisation.

"The lawyers who are supposed to defend Haidar refused because they consider it an exceptional and emergency court where a fair trial is not guaranteed."

The trial of Haidar, 34, and Abdulkareem al Shami, 28, will continue on November 2.

Haidar is accused of belonging to al Qa'eda and supporting the terror organisation.

malqadhi@thenational.ae