The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the Yemeni Journalists’ Syndicate (YJS) have launched an international campaign to pressure the Houthis to free four journalists detained by the group in Yemen and who face the death penalty.
In June 2015, Abdul-Khaleq Omran, Akram Al-Walidi, Harith Hamid and Tawfiq Al-Mansoori were arrested by the Houthis along with five other journalists in the capital Sanaa.
In April 2020, a Houthi court sentenced the four journalists to death on charges of “treason and spying for foreign states”.
“Their arrest was motivated by their reporting on human rights violations committed by Houthi forces,” IFJ and YJS said in a joint statement yesterday.
The two organisations announced that they were “launching an emergency call… to put pressure on the Houthi authorities to release our colleagues and save their lives”, warning that the four journalists had suffered “physical and psychological torture” as well as the “denial of the right to be visited and the right to have access to medical care.”
The IFJ and YJS said their campaign aims to send a message to the UN and US envoys to Yemen, to put this issue on their agenda as an urgent matter, and to call on governmental bodies and international institutions concerned with freedom of expression and the defence of human rights to make this issue a top priority.
The rights groups also called for the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate to participate in the upcoming session of the Human Rights Council to raise the issue of journalists sentenced to death in Yemen and the plight of media professionals in general.