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Yemen daily to close down after shootout

Aden , February 13, 2008

Yemen's leading independent newspaper will shut down after a 'savage attack' in which tribesmen fired on the editor's home on Tuesday, his son said.

The son, Bashraheel Bashraheel, said guards returned fire in the incident, killing one attacker and badly wounding another.

He told Reuters at daily Al-Ayyam's headquarters in the southern city of Aden that his father Hisham Bashraheel, 62, had instructed him to close the newspaper and seek political asylum abroad for the family.

'I don't think we can continue as free journalists under such violent attacks,' said Bashraheel, the paper's general manager. 'We know that some very influential government people are behind the problems we have been facing. It has all culminated in this savage attack against us.'

A government official, who asked not to be named, denied the shootout had any connection with Al-Ayyam or its editorial line. 'This is a criminal incident and the prosecutor's office is investigating with all parties concerned. Those involved on both sides have been arrested. The matter is in the hands of the judicial authorities,' he said.

Al-Ayyam, which has angered the authorities with its reporting of a series of anti-government protests in Aden in recent months, says it is the top-circulation paper in Yemen, with a print run of 64,000 copies.

Yemen, an impoverished Arab country at the southern tip of the Arabian peninsula, joined Washington's 'war on terrorism' after the Sept.11 attacks on US cities in 2001.

The younger Bashraheel said the attack on his father's house in the Yemeni capital Sanaa, by a tribal family claiming ownership of the land, was politically motivated.

He added that the authorities were pressing his family to hand over one of its members in what he said was effectively a demand for a 'hostage'.

Bashraheel said his father had been at home when the attack occurred, along with his wife and two grandchildren. None of the occupants was hurt in the shooting.-Reuters 




Tags: media | yemen | shootout | close |

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