IFJ Condemns Death Threat to Arab Union Leader

The International Federation of Journalists today called on the Yemeni authorities to fully investigate a report of a death threat against Yemeni journalists' leader Mahboob Ali who has been actively defending Arab media outlets from attacks.

On 28 June, an unknown person issued a death threat by phone to the chairman of the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate (YJS) and the deputy chairman of the Arab Journalists Federation, Mahboob Ali. Earlier that day, Mahboob had strongly criticized the “brutal attack” of the Yemeni government security forces over their raid on the offices of Al-Arabiya satellite channel on 27 June.

"Mahboob Ali has been in the forefront of the fight for journalists' rights and has been an outspoken critic of people who use pressure and violence to stifle free speech," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "This threat is an attempt to intimidate him his union into silence and is completely unacceptable."

The IFJ is fully supporting Mahboob’s calls on the Interior Minister, Dr Rashad al-Alimi, demanding a thorough investigation behind these threats and the punishment of those responsible.

The IFJ recalls that the YJS had addressed a letter of protest to Yemen's Prime Minister, Abdul-Qader Bagammal, over an “absurd and punitive” court sentence handed down to a local reporter and member of the YJS board a little over two months ago.

“In these time of escalating tension, the government must respect the rights of the media and their union representatives,” said White. “Trade union development is a necessity not an obstacle”.

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The IFJ represents more than 500,000 journalists in more than 100 countries