June 18, 2008

Abdul Karim al-Khaiwani' Acceptance Speech for the Amnesty International Human Rights Media Award


He was, of course, unable to accept in person, due to the fact that he is, once again, in prison for speaking the truth about what is happening in Yemen. He wrote the speech, and it was delivered by a spokesman:

Ladies and Gentlemen, Peace be upon you Conferring this award on me is a great honour to my colleagues in Yemen and myself. I would like to extend my thanks and gratitude to Amnesty International, as well as to all those attending this event. I wish I were among you to accept this award in person and to talk to you face to face. However, I am imprisoned in my country, following a six-year prison sentence handed down by a special court on June 9. The authorities in my country commit systematic violations against journalists and activists. What I have been through is only a example of the attacks and risks facing Yemeni journalists as a result of their professional and moral commitments. The freedom of the press has faced an increasingly deteriorating situation recently, because of the authorities' insistence on keeping national and international public opinion in the dark about serious crises, like the war that broke out four years ago in Sa'da, (north of Yemen) and the resulting tragic humanitarian situation, the citizens' peaceful protests in the southern and eastern governorates against marginalization (exclusion) and denial of political, civil and economic rights. The independent and opposition press, one of the most important instruments of peaceful change and democratic reform, is operating in a tough and precarious environment, especially in the absence of independent judiciary, disrespect for the rule of law, widespread institutional corruption and the government's monopoly over broadcast media. The authorities have developed repressive methods against journalists, those who hold anti-government views and human rights activists. These methods range from prison, torture, death threats to the use of subservient newspapers that are supported by public funds to discredit human rights defenders and government's opponents, especially independent women journalists and human rights activists. Those who believe in liberty, justice, equality and democracy realize that the embodiment of such human values requires sacrifice, patience and hope, as well as a belief that they are not alone in this confrontation. This award is strong evidence to this effect. The authorities have frequently banned me from traveling abroad. I have already been through the prison ordeal four years ago, and have been kidnapped and tortured more than once. However, I have never been alone, thanks to solidarity by my colleagues and support from the fledging Yemeni human rights movement that has never lost hope. Also thanks to an influential international human rights movement that have persistently responded to the violations by the Yemeni authorities aimed at isolating me and breaking my will. Repeating my pride in this award with its noble humanitarian and human rights significance, I would like to assure you in this regard that I consider it an honour well deserved by everyone who stood by my side against repression, intimidation and the culture of hatred and intolerance, namely my dear and persevering wife and beloved children. Thank you Abdul Karim al-Khaiwani

Naturally, I recommend making Jane Novak's Armies of Liberation a daily stop to stay on top of Yemeni issues.

Posted by Attila Girl at June 18, 2008 03:38 PM | TrackBack

Here is an Iranian blog for the Darrells and all the muslim haters on that come to see you Attila.


Posted by: Azmat Hussain at June 18, 2008 10:53 PM

I don't have Muslim-haters. I have murderer-haters. I have people who take a Jaundiced View of treatin' women like they're second-class citizens, or, worse . . . property.

I have people who are skeptical that Islam will undergo the reformation it appears ripe for.

I have readers who regard the human body as such a work of art--the female body included, please note--that it seems like a crime to hide too much of it for no good reason.

But haters? Not a lot of those.

Posted by: Attila Girl at June 19, 2008 10:53 PM

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