As the whole world combats COVID-19 by releasing all prisoners and detainees, since the conditions at prisons dangerously accelerate the spread of the virus, the warring parties in Yemen continue to abduct journalists and issue execution judgement upon them while allowing no defence for their cases at all.
On April 11th, 2020, Houthi armed group issued a judgement of executing four abductees after more than five years of detention. Armed Houthi officers had previously abducted nine journalists, on June 9th, 2015 from Sana’a. Those journalists were; Abdulkhaleq Amran, Tawfiq Al-Mansouri, Alhareth Humaid, Akram Al-Waleedi, Hesham Al-Yousufi, Haitham Al-Shehab, Hasan Annab, Hesham Turmoum, and Esam Belghaith. Last year, five of them were released. The other sentenced four are still detained until this day.
Abductees’ Mothers Association has monitored 60 cases of journalists who have been subjected to abduction, detention, or arbitrary arrest and detention since the beginning of the conflict in Yemen. Houthi armed group, alone, abducted 56 of those journalists. While Houthis have released 41 journalists, 15 others are still detained by them, one of whom, Waheed Al-Soufi, has been forcibly disappeared since his abduction in April 2015. As four journalists, Abdulkhaleq Amran, Tawfiq Al-Mansouri, Alhareth Humaid, and Akram Al-Waleedi, were sentenced to death, Houthis continue to detain the journalists Hamza Al-Jebayhi, even after releasing his father, Yehya Al-Jebayhi, a journalist that had been sentenced to death, but released due to health deterioration.
The association, also, monitored the abduction of two journalists by the government, who were released after, as well as the abduction of the journalist Mohammed Ali Al-Muqri, who has been abducted by Al-Qaeda since October 17th, 2015.
Houthi armed group carries out mass abduction against journalists. The most notable incident was the detention of 20 journalists in Sana’a, on October 15th, 2018, for hours after participating at a hate speech seminar. Among of those detained journalists were Abdulbari Taher, Ashraf Al-Reefi, Adel Abdulmughni, Mohammed Shamsan, Ma’een Al-Najri, Fatema Al-Aghbari, Zakariya Al-Husami, Mohammed Al-Jailani.
The mothers and relatives of abducted journalists struggle with inhuman suffering and harsh living conditions. The joy of their children has been absent as holidays and Eids pass by them while they cannot share their happy moments with their fathers. All of which happens despite the fact that the whole world considers press the fourth estate for its importance at raising awareness and the growing number of journalists around the world.
At Abductees’ Mothers Association, we urgently call upon international human rights organizations and journalists to pay more attention to the case of Yemeni journalists, on World Press Freedom Day, who have been facing death at prisons and detention centres since the beginning of the war in Yemen.
We demand dropping the death sentences of the four journalists. We, also, demand releasing all journalists, grant them their right of freely practice their profession, and provide them with the proper compensation for the violations they have endured. We, finally, iterate our demands to bring the perpetrators of violations against journalists to justice.
Issued by Abductees’ Mothers Association.
May 3rd, 2021.