Yemen: 100 local and international organizations call for prosecution of perpetrators of violations against journalists

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  • Free Media

100 international and local organizations signed an “advocacy letter” for victims of the violations committed against Yemeni journalists, and called on the international community, led by the United Nations represented by its Secretary-General, the Human Rights Council, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy for Yemen, the Special Rapporteurs, as well as the Parliament in the European Union, and the US government, to intervene effectively to end violations against journalists, prosecute and hold accountable those who are responsible, and to pressure on the armed conflicted parties in Yemen to cancel all unfair trials against journalists and release all detainees, revealing those who committed violations, holding them accountable and ensuring that they do not escape , compensating those affected fairly, reforming law enforcement institutions, respecting the independence of the judiciary, non-interference in its affairs, or exploiting it to implement political goals for the conflicted parties, and the need to respect the principles of international human rights law and international humanitarian law.

The report, done by Free Media Center, monitored 100 cases of violations against journalists amount to war crimes, including 9 women, since the beginning of the war from 2015 to 2022, which documented in the governorates controlled by the conflicted parties (Taiz, Aden, Sana’a). It showed different types of violations and the responsibility of the conflicted parties in these violations, where 52 journalists and human rights defenders were arbitrarily arrested ( 37) cases by entities affiliated with Ansar Allah group (Houthis), (9) cases by entities affiliated with the internationally recognized legitimate government,(4) cases by forces affiliated with the Southern Transitional Council and (2) cases by an unidentified group in the areas controlled by the internationally recognized legitimate government. In addition to 48 journalists being subjected to enforced disappearance, including (36) by the Ansar Allah group (Houthis), (5) by the internationally recognized legitimate government and (5) cases by the Southern Transitional Council, (2) by an unidentified group in areas controlled by the internationally recognized legitimate government, and since 2015, 25 journalists have been killed in the governorates targeted  by the report (Taiz, Sana’a, Aden), including 2 women, and 9 journalists in Aden, 11 journalists in Taiz governorate and 5 journalists in Sana’a governorate. In all cases, those responsible and masterminds of the killings remain unaccountable, except in 3 cases in which those involved were referred to trial and verdicts were issued, such as the case of journalist Abdul Karim Al-Khaiwani, the court sentenced the 7 killers to death, and in the case of blogger Omar Bataweel, the Sira Court of First Instance in Aden convicted one of the defendants, and in the case of the murder of journalist Fawaz Al-Wafi in Taiz, the defendants were brought to trial.

  • The report revealed that (8) of the journalists are still languishing in the prisons of Ansar Allah group for six years in most cases, despite the issuance of verdicts to cancel the death sentences against 4 of them and to release them, while 3 of them have already served their prison sentences, but the Sana’a authorities refuse to release them without legal justification. On the other hand, journalist Ahmed Maher is in the prisons of the Transitional Council in Aden Governorate since the sixth of August 2022.  Ansar Allah also obstructed trial procedures and getting justice in the case of the murder of journalist Mohammed Abdo Absi and refused to reveal the perpetrators or to hand them over to the judiciary.

Therefore, we, the undersigned organizations, speak with one voice to call on the international community to intensify their efforts to force the conflicted parties in Yemen to respect their international obligations to protect human rights and provide adequate guarantees for the work of human rights defenders, including journalists, in a safe atmosphere. As well as not to prosecute them, and to hold the perpetrators of violations accountable without impunity. We also stress on:

  • Applying international jurisdiction over human rights file in Yemen to serve as an effective mechanism to ensure accountability and reduce impunity.
  • putting pressure on the conflicted parties in Yemen to respect their international obligations regarding the protection of journalists and allowing them to work freely without restrictions and without fear of arrest or any kind of reprisals.
  • Accepting requests for visits to the Special Mechanisms concerned on Enforced Disappearances, Torture and Arbitrary Detention.
  • Stop the trial of journalists and activists under the umbrella of counter-terrorism laws, immediately and unconditionally release all journalists who are arbitrarily detained for exercising their rights to freedom of expression by Ansar Allah in Sana’a, and journalists detained by the Transitional Council and the internationally recognized Yemeni government in Aden. Where journalists (Nabil Al-Sadawi, Mohammed Al-Junaid, Mohammed Al-Salahi, Tawfiq Al-Mansouri, Akram Al-Walidi, Harith Hamid and Abdulkhaleq Omran) as well as activist Asma Al-Omeisy are still languishing in the prisons of the Ansar Allah group (Houthis) in Sana’a.  Journalist Ahmed Maher is also still languishing in the prisons of the Southern Transitional Council in Aden governorate, areas controlled by the internationally recognized Yemeni government.
  • Respecting the right of victims and their families to get justice, revealing the perpetrators of murders against journalists, and not obstructing judicial proceedings.
  • Allowing the case of the murder of journalist Mohammed Abdo Al-Absi to be persued in Sana’a and handing over the killers to the concerned authorities.
  •  pressuring for accountability for all those who ordered, financed, planned and carried out the killings of journalists, and the initiation of criminal investigations and procedures related to the killing of 8 journalists in Aden, (Ahmed Bou Saleh, Tariq Mustafa, Ahmed Hadij Barras, Adeeb Al-Janani, Saber Al-Haidari, Rasha Al-Harazi, and Nabil Al-Quaiti) and civil activist (Amjad Abdul Rahman), as well as investigating the killing of 10 journalists in Taiz, (Ahmed Al-Shaibani, Osama Al-Maqtari, Mohammed Al-Qadasi, Mohammed Al-Yamani, Awab Al-Zubairi, Taqi Al-Din Al-Hudhaifi, Wael Al-Absi, Mohammed Al-Tahiri, Ziad Al-Sharabi)  And the human rights activist (Reham Al-Badr) and in Sana’a the investigation into the killing of (Mohammed Rajeh Shamsan, Bilal Sharaf Al-Din, Al-Miqdad Mogalli) .
  • Allowing local and international organizations to visit places of detention, evaluating their conditions and canceling all unofficial detention places.
  • Restructuring the judiciary, non-interference in its affairs, rehabilitation of its members and ensuring its independence.
  • Rehabilitation of employees of judicial enforcement institutions and monitoring its performance.
  • Pressuring Ansar Allah (Houthi) and the Yemeni government to ensure that all those responsible for violations against journalists are not impunity and that they are brought to fair and public trials.

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