By Bushra Al-Maqtari
Activist Bushra Al-Maqtari has presented a complaint to Yemen’s attorney general in response to defamation campaigns waged against her. Her complaint she said “I am Bushra Al-Maqtari, a leftist writer and Yemeni citizen. I took to the streets with the rest of the Yemeni youth to demand that the regime – with all its political, tribal and military components – be overthrown. We demanded equal citizenship and our rights. I was subjected to many acts of oppression by Saleh’s regime and my house was targeted with guns and cannons. When Ali Saleh left office, I – like many others – thought that Yemen would finally experience freedom and that the new political administration would give women and Yemenis in general their rights.
Throughout the revolution, more than 70 scholars stated that I had defected from the Islamic religion and demanded that my nationality be stripped from me; my life itself was threatened, as was my personal safety. My life was threatened many times, in every possible way. In addition there were defamation campaigns in local newspapers and false photos were created and posted on Facebook. I couldn’t pursue legal action against most of the launchers of these campaigns as they were hidden behind aliases. I considered all such actions to be a punishment of Yemeni women.
Though I desparately tried to be patient and ignored all that was happening, I found myself subjected to the worst defamation campaign through Facebook by Raddad Al-Salami, who commented on an article I wrote about Aden and Ali Saleh Moqbel. Raddad Al-Salami severely and openly doubted my morals and dignity and even after I deleted his comment, he reposted my photo in different groups alongside harsh words accusing me of involvement in immoral actions, an action which should never be perpetrated by anyone.
Hence, as a person who doesn’t fear such defamation and terrifying campaigns, I refer the suit against Raddad Al-Salami to the lawyers’ union as a lesson who adopt such policies of defamation, and especially those directed against women.”
Bushra Al-Maqtari also demanded that the Yemeni Writers’ Union support the freedom of expression and stop all violations against their members, herself included. She also called on various human rights organizations to support her and work to prevent campaigns directed against her because of her political viewpoints.
Revolutionary forces and the civil society organizations have strongly condemned the defamation campaigns against Bushra Al-Maqtari by people claiming to speak on behalf of Islam. Revolutionary forces in Taiz and Sana’a have also issued warnings to anyone considering making attacks against Al-Maqtari. The Organization of Jar Allah Omar condemned the attacks, with officials saying it considered them to be attacks against a revolutionary woman who participated in overthrowing the former regime.