Tortured Yemeni journalists call for release of colleagues sentenced to death by Houthis

Tortured Yemeni journalists call for release of colleagues sentenced to death by Houthis
Four Yemeni journalists have been sentenced to death by the Houthis.
2 min read
12 April, 2021
The Houthis regularly perpetrate abuses against detainees [Getty]
Yemeni journalists subjected to torture while imprisoned by the Houthis are campaigning for international assistance to secure the freedom of four others who were sentenced to death by the rebel group, The Guardian reports.

The Houthis arrested ten journalists during raids in Sanaa in 2015, accusing them of "collaborating with the enemy" and other espionage-related charges.

This came soon after the Saudi-led coalition entered the war in Yemen in support of Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi's pro-Riyadh government.

Those arrested say they were tortured, deprived of food, and left in isolation until tried in a Houthi courtroom last April.

Their families and legal representatives were forbidden from attending the trial.

Although the journalists were all convicted, only four were given the death penalty.

The other six were released under monitoring and with orders to cease their journalism but were able to slip out of the country to Egypt.

Read more: How the odds were stacked against Yemen's Arab Spring revolution

They say the Yemeni government must do more to secure the release of Abdel-Khaleq Amran, Akram al-Walidi, Hareth Hamid and Tawfiq al-Mansouri who face execution.

"We would need to write books to describe what we went through and suffered in these detention facilities," the group said in a statement seen by The Guardian.

"And there are still four journalists, who were sentenced to death inside these dark prisons, waiting for fate to intervene to save their lives and bring them back to their children."

Since his imprisonment, Tawfiq’s health has been seriously compromised by diabetes and kidney issues, his brother Abdullah said.

Abdullah added that the Houthis have denied his brother care for these illnesses and have permitted his family to visit him just twice in three years.

The unnamed mother of another detainee lamented that her child "is just a civilian".

She said: "We went everywhere, we talked to everyone but no one really helped us. I'm crying every day, and I can't sleep."

Houthi leader Abdul-Malik Badreddin Al-Houthi once appeared before the ten men admonishing them that journalists are "more dangerous than those fighting on the frontlines".

Read more: Houthi propaganda: following in Hizballah's footsteps

The Houthis are currently locked in a critical battle with pro-government forces for the city of Marib, where 70 died in one 24-hour period this weekend.

They have also been condemned for their treatment of other detainees.

Just last month, Human Rights Watch said dozens of mostly Ethiopian migrants died in a fire at an immigration holding facility when the Houthis "launched unidentified projectiles" into the area.

This came after protests against overcrowding in the camp.

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