Yemen: new reports of torture against kidnapped journalists

Three Yemeni journalists, who are held captive by the Houthis since last June, are reported to have been tortured on 30 January, according to the Yemen Journalists’ Syndicate (YJS), an IFJ affiliate. The International Federation of Journalist (IFJ), which represents more than 600,000 journalists in the world, condemns the torturing and the bad treatment of the detained journalists and renews its call to immediately release them.

According to their families, journalists Toufic Al Mansoury, AbdelKhaleek Omran and Akram Al Waleedi, who are held in al Thawra prison in the capital Sana’a, were isolated in individual cells last Saturday night and then tortured and beaten by rifles and other equipment until they bled.

The three reporters were kidnapped, together with other 6 colleagues, at the Dream Land Hotel in the capital, Sana’a, on 9 June 2015. The YJS said that they were all working from the hotel which they considered a safer place with a regular power connection. The Houthi rebels took all of them to the Red section of the Al‐Hasba district and then to the anti‐ terrorism unit in Al Adel Street. They were later transferred to an unknown location towards the end of Ramadan and are currently held in the capital’s prison. A lawyers’ group which was allowed to visit them in the prison last September told the YJS that the reporters had been repeatedly tortured since their abduction.

The IFJ expressed solidarity with the Yemeni colleagues and held the rebels responsible for the safety and wellbeing of the prisoners.

“The IFJ once again condemns the continuous torturing of our Yemeni colleagues and joins the call of the YJS to immediately release all of the kidnapped journalists,” said IFJ President, Jim Boumelha. “We express solidarity with them and we remind the Houthis that kidnapping, torturing and beating journalists may be held criminally accountable.”

Akram AL Waleedi worked for newspapers Al Sahwa and Al RabihNet. AbdelKhalee Omran was the editor of the online site Alislah and Toufic Al Mansoury was the artistic director of the daily newspaper Al Masdar which was closed down by the Houthi militia after confiscating all its equipment.

13 journalists are thought to remain kidnapped or arrested in Yemen by the different warring parties since the beginning of the conflict, according to YJS’s last figures, and at least 10 lost their lives while on mission in 2015, the IFJ reported.

The IFJ and YJS will hold later this month an international conference in Amman, Jordan, to discuss the media safety crisis in the country and strengthen solidarity with Yemeni journalists.

For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 16

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 139 countries

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