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Yemen: Severe assault of human rights journalist Ms Samia Al-Agbry
On 13 February 2011, human rights journalist Ms Samia Al-Agbry was reportedly subjected to an abduction attempt and physical assault while participating in a demonstration in Sana'a. Samia Al-Agbry was the secretary of the Rights and Freedoms Committee of the Journalists' Syndicate, and regularly documents and reports human rights violations in Yemen, particularly against journalists.
It is reported that individuals in plain clothes, believed to have been State Security officers and thugs, attacked the demonstrators as they marched between the University of Sana’a and Heda Street.
A masked man in plain clothes reportedly attempted to take Samia Al-Agbry with him by force; however, other demonstrators, having overheard her screams intervened to aid her. The man then pushed Samia Al-Agbry violently to the ground, causing her head to hit the pavement and subsequent loss of consciousness. Samia Al-Agbry was then transferred to Al-Jumohoria hospital where she regained her consciousness and was treated for bruises.
Police officers present at the time seemed to have observed the event without intervening to protect Samia Al-Agbry. She has submitted a complaint concerning the incident at Anasr police station.
At the same demonstration, several other human rights defenders were reportedly assaulted, including human rights lawyer Mr Khalid Al-Anesi; member of Parliament and human rights defender Mr Ahmad Saif Hashid; and Ms Tawakkol Karman, Chairperson of Women Journalists Without Chains (WJWC).
According to a statement by the Journalists' Syndicate, Samia Al-Agbry had been threatened with abduction earlier this month while she was reporting on a demonstration attacked by thugs.
Front Line believes that the assault of Samia Al-Agbry was directly related to her legitimate and peaceful human rights activities. Front Line is concerned for the physical and psychological integrity of Samia AlA-Agbry.
Front Line urges the authorities in Yemen to:
1. Carry out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the physical assault of Samia Al-Agbry and the other aforementioned human rights defenders, with a view to publishing the results and bringing those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards;
2. Take measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of Samia Al-Agbry;
3. Guarantee in all circumstances that human rights defenders in Yemen are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment.