Yemeni journalist Zaki al-Saqaldi, newspaper reporter for AlMasdar press and publishing house,, was assassinated by unidentified gunmen on Friday 8 October in front of his house in Dhale city. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its Yemeni affiliate, the Yemeni Journalist Syndicate, in strongly condemning the killing and in expressing serious concerns about increasing hostility and harassment against journalists in Yemen.
According to YJS, unidentified gunmen on motorcycle opened fire on al-Saqaldi and killed him instantly. The attackers fled and have not been arrested yet. This is the first killing of a journalist of these characteristics in Yemen since 2015, when journalist Abdul Karim al-Khaiwani was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in Sanaa. The situation of in Yemen is critical, with eight media workers killed so far in 2018.
This crime is the latest in a series of targeted attacks against journalists in the country. In a statement, the YJS denounced the “targeting campaign” against journalists “amidst the absence of security”.
“The YJS holds the security authorities of Al-Dhale fully responsible for this crime and for protecting journalists in the governorate. The YJS also reiterates its demands to not include journalists in the conflict or to incite against them because of their opinions”, said the YJS.
Last week, the YJS published its quarterly report on the attacks against media, reporting that there have been 35 attacks against journalists and media workers since July, including killings, imprisonments, attacks on media houses, the closure of media and confiscation of newspapers by security forces. The Houthis are responsible for 43% of these attacks, while the Yemeni government, different militias and the Saudi-led coalition are responsible for most of the other attacks.
IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger, said: “The murder of Saqaldi is the culmination of waves of crimes against journalists and media workers by all parties involved in the Yemen conflict over the last four years; all of them have gone unpunished. The Yemeni government must immediately establish an independent investigation to bring the perpetrators to justice”.