Yemen journalism union urges release of journalists in Houthi prisons

Yemen journalism union urges release of journalists in Houthi prisons
Houthi rebels have detained scores of journalists since the onset of the war in Yemen, which ranks among the lowest countries worldwide for press freedom.
2 min read
04 May, 2022
Yemen remains one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalism, according to rights groups such as Reporters Without Borders [Getty]

Yemen’s Journalism Syndicate on Tuesday appealed for the release of journalists held by Houthi rebels in the wake of World Press Freedom Day marked on 3 May.

In a statement published by local media, the syndicate said that nine journalists are currently detained in Houthi-controlled areas, and expressed anger over the arrest of journalists Abdel-Khaleq Omran, Tawfiq Al-Mansoori, Akram Al-Waleedy and Harith Hamid, who have been held since 2015 and issued with a death sentence in April 2020.

It also condemned the Houthis’ refusal to comply with local and international demands for their release.

The union also called for the end of hostile working environments for journalists, particularly those who work in Houthi-controlled areas, as well as for media organisations in the Iran-backed movement to refrain from withholding employees’ salaries, which has been ongoing since 2016.

"The occasion of World Press Freedom Day comes in light of the dangerous conditions experienced by journalists in Yemen, which has negatively affected their lives, particularly their living and professional conditions".

"It is no secret to anyone that [Yemeni] journalists are experiencing multiple crises, dire living conditions, deprivation, oppression, persecution, neglect and intimidation, after the closure of dozens of civil and opposition media outlets and the loss of hundreds of journalists for their work, and the pursuit of different and conflicting authorities for opinion-holders".

At least 49 journalism professionals have been killed since the beginning of the Yemen conflict in 2014, exacerbated by the Saudi-led Arab coalition military intervention in 2015.

The syndicate hailed the journalists as "martyrs" who must not be "forgotten".

Yemen ranks 169th out of 180 countries on the global media freedom rankings table, according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF). Other Middle Eastern countries such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Iraq feature in the list’s bottom 20.

Rights groups, such as RSF, have decried the multiple press freedom violations that Yemeni journalists face in the war-torn country.