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Rights groups call for release of death row journalists in Yemen

May 2, 2020 at 11:29 am

Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the Samir Kassir Foundation and several other organisations have issued a joint statement on the eve of  World Press Freedom Day – 3 May – calling for the immediate  release of four journalists who are at risk of execution in Yemen.

Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa Regional Director, Heba Morayef, said, “It is outrageous these brave journalists remain at risk of death simply for telling the world the truth about the suffering in Yemen.”

She added:

To mark World Press Freedom Day, the Houthi de facto authorities must immediately quash their death sentences, drop all pending charges and release all journalists imprisoned for their work.

On 11 April 2020, a Specialized Criminal Court in Sana’a sentenced to death the four journalists who had been awaiting trial since 2015. The four men – Akram al-Walidi, Abdelkhaleq Amran, Hareth Hamid and Tawfiq al-Mansouri – were accused of “spying for Saudi Arabia”, and “broadcasting rumours, fake news and statements in support of the enemy Saudi Arabia.”

The human rights organizations have documented cases of arbitrary arrest carried out by the Houthi de facto authorities and allied forces, targeting political opponents, as well as journalists, and human rights activists.

Afrah Nasser, the Yemen researcher for Human Rights Watch said, “The unlawful and prolonged detention, torture and other ill-treatment that detained journalists in Yemen face is a shocking reminder of the repressive media climate that still exists in the country.”