UPDATE: El-Khaiwani is released from prison after a presidential pardon. Read here to learn more.
Mr. Abdulkarim El-Khaiwani is a Yemeni journalist, activist, and writer. He was born on 1965 in Taiz governorate. He studied economy and political sciences in Sana’a University. Worked as the head of the political department in AL-Haq party, and editor-in-chief of its official newspaper "AL-Umma". He also worked as editor-in-chief of “AL-Shura” weekly newspaper and “Al-Shora net” news website. He is well-known with his courageous articles criticizing the ruling regime in Yemen.
After he became the Editor-in-Chief of AL-Shora newspaper, he published series of articles that were very sensitive to the Yemeni government and contributed in raising the bar high for the freedom of the critic journalism. Most important of these articles were “bequeathing authority and government positions”, “corruption in the petroleum sector”, “government officials combining government work and their own trade business”, and his coverage of sa’ada’s war that erupted in mid March 2004, in which he revealed some of its facts.
Due to all the aforementioned, he was subjected to types of harassments and repression, and was imprisoned in late 2004. He remained in jail for one year after he was sentenced on account of several charges, one of which is insulting the president of the Republic of Yemen.
His case received great deal of attention from local, regional and international human rights and freedom organizations, especially the freedom of journalism concerned organizations as well as from international governmental and non-governmental political parties. His case was also included in many international reports like the annual report on freedoms issued by the U.S. State Department, reports issued by Amnesty International and others.
Mr. El-Khewani was released from jail in late 2005 due to presidential general amnesty in consequence of pressure from human rights and freedom organizations.
During his time in jail, the newspaper was closed pursuant to the same court sentence against him. But he resumed publishing after he was released. However Soon after that, the newspaper was confiscated and armed group with the support of security forces took over the premises of the newspaper. The Ministry of Information allowed this group to continue publishing while AL-Thawra Establishment for Journalism took charge of its printing and publishing. It is still being published and cloned until this date.
Following the confiscation of the newspaper, “AL-Shura Net” news website was launched, but it faced hassle and ended up being blocked from Yemeni browsers by the Ministry of Telecommunication.
Mr. Elkhewani was prohibited from leaving Yemen, and he received several death threats.
Some of his well-known articles are “ The national Day of ascending the authority”, “ Ali Kateosha” and others.