Yemen: Rights Radar Calls on International Community to Put Pressure on Houthis to Release Four Journalists Facing Execution
Rights Radar Organization for Human Rights, based in Amsterdam, Netherlands, has called on the international community to put pressure on Houthi militia to release the detained journalists, especially those who face the risk of execution due to unfair decisions issued by the Specialized Criminal Court in Sana’a, which is under the control of Houthis, in April 2020.
In its statement on the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day, Rights Radar has called on the conflicting parties in Yemen to spare the media, journalists and workers in the field of press the consequences of the conflict and put an end to all violations targeting journalists and media, including deprivation of the right to life, arbitrary arrest and physical assault.
Rights Radar clarified that its field monitors documented 1,465 violations that badly affected the press and media freedoms in Yemen from the beginning of war in September 2014 to March 2022. These violations included killing, injury, arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance and torture, in addition to partial and total destruction of media institutions and confiscation of public and private property.
Rights Radar stated that there were 76 killings committed against media workers, including 73 men and three women, 122 cases of injuries, including two women, 573 cases of detention and enforced disappearance, including 554 men and 19 women. In addition, there were 245 cases of damages to public property and 264 cases of damages to private property.
The number of violations against the public and private media in Yemen reached 245 cases, including 11 media outlets in 11 Yemeni governorates. These violations badly affected satellite channels, radio stations, newspapers, news websites and governmental and private institutions. These violations included explosion, storming, control, looting and destruction of media equipment and vehicles.
Houthi militia was responsible for the highest number of violations against press and media institutions by committing 211 cases, including 20 press and media institutions, 27 satellite channels, 26 newspapers, 93 news websites and 35 radio stations.
The non-government armed formations came second with 21 violations, including 12 newspapers, four media institutions, three radio stations and two news websites.
The Arab coalition in Yemen, led by Saudi Arabia, came third with 11 media violations, including eight local satellite channels and three radio stations. The Yemeni government was responsible for committing two violations against a private newspaper and a satellite channel.
According to Rights Radar monitoring team, the number of violations against media and press institutions reached 24 governmental and private institutions. The number of violations committed against satellite channels reached 36 cases, including 32 violations in the capital, Sana’a. There were also 39 violations against newspapers, including 15 government newspapers and 24 private newspapers. The number of violations against radio stations reached 41 cases, including 30 private radio stations and 11 government radio stations. There were 95 blocked news websites, including 54 local websites and 41 foreign websites.
The monitored statistics indicated that Houthi militia committed the highest number of violations with 40 killings committed against journalists and media workers, followed by unknown armed groups who committed 17 killings. Arab Coalition came third with 13 killings of journalists, followed by non-government armed formations that came fourth with four killings. The extremist organizations came fifth with two killings.
As for the arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance and arrest, Houthi militia came first by committing 467 cases of detention, followed by the Yemeni government with 56 arrests. Then, non-government armed formations committed 46 abductions. The extremist organizations came fourth with four abductions.
As for violation against private property, Houthi militia was responsible for the highest number of violations with 193 cases, followed by non-government formations with 25 cases. The Yemeni government was responsible for committing 21 cases and the unknown armed groups were responsible for 12 cases. The Arab coalition committed 8 cases, and finally al-Qaeda committed 5 cases. With regard to violation against public property, Houthis came first by committing 211 cases of violation, followed by non-government armed formations with 21 cases. Arab coalition committed 11 cases of violation, followed by the Yemeni government with two cases of violation against public property.
Concerning the geographical distribution of victims of media violations, Taiz governorate came first with 18 killings, followed by the capital, Sana’a, with 10 killings, including two women. The temporary capital “Aden” came third with 9 killings, including one woman. Hodeidah Governorate came fourth with 7 killings, followed by the governorates of Ma’rib, Dhamar, Al-Jawf and Shabwa with four killings in each. Then, there were three killings in each of governorates of Hajjah, Al-Dhalea, Al-Bayda and Saada, followed by Hadhramaut Governorate with two killings, and finally the governorates of Ibb and Sanaa with one killing in each.
As for the geographical distribution of victims of arbitrary detention of press and media workers, the capital Sana’a came first with 297 cases, including 11 women, followed by Taiz Governorate with 37 cases, including one woman. There were 37 cases in Dhamar Governorate, including two women, 36 cases in Ibb Governorate, 32 cases in Hodeidah Governorate, 21 cases in Hadramout Governorate, including three women, 13 cases in Shabwa Governorate, 12 cases in each of Hajjah and Amran governorates, 10 cases in Al-Bayda Governorate, seven cases in Lahj Governorate, four cases in Al-Mahwit Governorate, three cases in Socotra Archipelago Governorate, two cases in Abyan Governorate, and finally one case in Saada Governorate.
It should be noted that the figures included in the statistics contained in this statement represent just the violations that Rights Radar monitors could monitor and document in the Yemeni governorates, but the real number may be greater because of the inaccessibility of many of these governorates due to the strict security measures in some cities and Yemeni districts.
Rights Radar has called on the international community to take urgent, serious and practical actions to put pressure on the conflicting parties in Yemen to reduce violations committed against journalists and media workers in Yemen. It also has called on the international community to urgently intervene to save the lives of detained journalists, including the four journalists whose lives are threatened by execution sentences issued by Houthi militia, namely Abdul-Khaleq Omran, Akram al-Walidy, Harith Humaid and Tawfiq al-Mansouri.
Finally, Rights Radar has called on the Yemeni government to strengthen the media freedoms for journalists in its areas of control and prevent any violations or threats committed against them in these areas.