- February 17, 2010
Yemen: Opposition newspaper reporter murdered in northwest
“We offer this journalist’s colleagues and family our heartfelt condolences,” Reporters Without Borders said. “His murder is an outrage that could have been avoided if the authorities had not been so negligent. His alleged killers were arrested at the end of last year for physically attacking him but the authorities freed them.”
The press freedom organization added that “this time we call for them to be brought to trial and severely punished. We also urge the authorities to do what is necessary to ensure that this kind of tragedy does not recur by giving journalists adequate protection throughout the country.”
Al-Rabu’i, 34, was reportedly shot dead at his home by four of five individuals who were arrested after attacking him in late 2009 but were released before charges were brought.
“The murderers have been arrested and will be punished,” Beni Qais security chief Abdelrazeq Az-Zareq said, adding that he took “full responsibility” for their release at the end of last year.”
Al-Rabu’i had worked for more than 10 years for Al-Qahira, the mouthpiece of the Islamic Reform Grouping (Al-Islah), the main opposition party. In the last legislative elections, in 2003, Al-Islah won 22.6 per cent of the vote and 46 of the 301 seats in parliament.
Respect for press freedom worsened last year in Yemen but this is the first time that a journalist has been murdered in violence against independent or opposition news media since North and South Yemen merged in 1990.
Yemen was ranked 167th out of 175 countries in RSF’s 2009 press freedom index.