Yemen: IFJ condemns state security court death sentence on journalist

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today joined its affiliate, the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate (YJS), in condemning the death sentence passed on 12 April by the Houthi Security Court against a veteran Yemeni journalist. Reporter and former professor Yahya Abdulraqeeb Al-Jubeihi, 61, was yesterday sentenced to death on charges of spying for Saudi Arabia, the country that has been leading a deadly military intervention against the Houthis in Yemen since 2015. The rebels have controlled all government and media institutions in Sana’a since they overran the capital in September 2014 and are accused by the YJS of undermining press freedom. Another 18 journalists also remain detained by the Houthis under brutal conditions and fear a similar fate, the union claims. The YJS reported that they are being deprived of health care in the Political Security prison in Sana’a. ¨The YJS strongly condemns this sentence, which shows how the current authority is targeting all elements of media and press freedoms, spreading fear and horror amongst journalists and taking Yemen back to a totalitarian era,¨ claimed the union in a statement. The YJS also reported that the court didn´t give Al-Jubeihi and his lawyer the right to defend his case. They are appealing against the sentence. The IFJ joined the YJS in opposing the sentence and a process that deprived Al-Jubeihi of the right to defend himself in court and have a fair trail. ¨We are outraged by this ruling against a senior journalist and we warn those who are overseeing this show trial against harming him,¨ said IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger. ¨Otherwise the IFJ, its unions around the globe and international partners will make sure that they face justice for their crime.¨ Yahya Abdulraqeeb Al-Jubeihi was arrested on 6 September 2016 by the National Security Service and charged with treason. His house was raided and his mobile phone, computer, papers and files were taken by the members of the Security Service. The YJS claim his family and children were also threatened. Al-Jubeihi is a prominent figure in the Arab press. He wrote regular columns for Saudi dailies Okaz and Al-Madina, as well as for other Yemeni newspapers. He also served at the former government's press department in the 1990s and 2000s during the mandate of former President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi. According to the YJS, almost 50 media violations including 8 abductions, 4 detentions, 2 arrests and 1 persecution occurred in Yemen in the first quarter of 2017 of whom 62% were perpetrated by the Houthis (29 cases) and 17% by security agencies affiliated to the government (8 cases).

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