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Yemen Houthis refuse to release detained journalists, offer to exchange for POWs

Supporters of Houthis participate in march on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of Houthis' control of the Yemeni capital Sanaa, on 21 September 2019. [Mohammed Hamoud - Anadolu Agency]
Supporters of Houthis participate in march on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of Houthis' control of the Yemeni capital Sanaa, on 21 September 2019. [Mohammed Hamoud - Anadolu Agency]

Yemen’s Houthi rebels have refused to release detained journalists and offered to exchange them for prisoners of war, the journalists’ lawyer has disclosed.

Lawyer Abdul Majeed Sabra announced on Facebook that the Specialised Criminal Court of First Instance in Sanaa ruled in April to release journalists Hisham Tarmoum, Hisham Al-Yousfi, Haitham Al-Shehab, Issam Bel-Ghaith and Hassan Annab, however, the Houthis refused to execute the judiciary’s ruling under the pretext that they will be exchanged for prisoners of war.

Sabra described the Houthis’ decision as: “A war crime against the detainees who had been kidnapped from their homes and workplaces,” stressing that local laws and international covenants do not allow exchanging a detainee for a prisoner of war.

He called on: “International organisations to support the detainees and pressure all parties to immediately release them.”

The Yemeni lawyer has also called to distance the judiciary from politics.

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