CPJ calls Houthi militia to release all journalists in its prisons

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September Net

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has demanded Houthi militia to immediately release all journalists in its custody and stop its campaign of detentions and intimidation against journalists working in areas under its control.

The Houthis are expected to begin what they have described as trial proceedings in June or July for at least 10 journalists who have been detained for nearly four years, according to Abdullah al-Mansouri, the brother of one of the journalists, and a statement from the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate sent to CPJ by syndicate co-chair Nabil Alosaidi.

Al-Mansouri told international organization CPJ that Houthi guards in the Political Security Prison in Sanaa, Yemen’s capital, allegedly tortured and mistreated his brother, Tawfiq al-Mansouri, by beating him with sticks, cables, iron bars, rifle butts, and their fists, as well as by forcing him to hold cinder blocks for several hours and preventing him from drinking water for up to a day. Al-Mansouri sent CPJ a document detailing the alleged torture and mistreatment of the other journalists in Houthi detention, which included beatings, verbal abuse, and denial of medical care.

The Houthi rebels have demonstrated their brutality by holding at least 10 journalists in what by all accounts are deplorable conditions for nearly four years,” CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour said in Washington, D.C.

He added that the Houthi militants should immediately release all journalists in their custody.

A Houthi-controlled prosecutorial body recently concluded investigations into a case it is bringing against the 10 journalists, and will hold trial proceedings for them after Ramadan concludes in early June, the journalists’ lawyer, Abdel Majeed Farea Sabra, told CPJ.

The journalists are Abdulkhaleq Amran, Hesham Tarmoum, Hareth Hameed, Akram al-Waleedi, Essam Balghaith, Hisham al-Yousifi, Haitham al-Shihab, Hassan Anaab, Tawfiq al-Mansouri, and Salah al-Qaedy.

In December 2017, CPJ documented the detention and abuse of all 10 journalists, alongside several others.

Sabra told CPJ that he has only been able to meet with the journalists twice, in September 2018 and November 2018, and is unable to communicate freely with them.

According to Sabra, the Houthi insurgents forbid lawyers from being present during interrogations, and since November 2018 he has received news of their ill-treatment from the relatives who are allowed to visit them.

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