Yemen: Journalist Hala Badawi arrested over social media posts

Yemeni journalist and media activist Hala Fouad Badawi has been under detention since 30 December by Yemeni military intelligence command in Hadhramaut Governorate, in the country’s southeast. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate (YJS) condemn her arrest and urge the competent authorities to release her immediately.

The YJS reported that Hala Badawi was arrested on Thursday, 30 December, over her reports and recent social media posts calling for improving living conditions and holding to account those responsible for corruption in government institutions.

Sources also confirmed that the authorities seized her phone and working materials.

On 5 January, she was officially charged with "spying and communicating with foreign agencies" and moved from the detention facility of the military intelligence to the Central Prison in Mukalla city, the capital of Hadhramaut governorate.

Badawi has suffered systematic harassment by the authorities because of her job as a journalist. In February 2020, she was arrested when she was going to cover the popular protests held every Thursday in the governorate, at which protestors demanded improvements to their living and economic situation.

Systematic attacks on press freedom

Yemen is one of the most dangerous countries for journalists, where 45 journalists have been killed in the last 10 years and where attacks on media freedom and basic journalists’ rights happen daily.

The YJS 2021 annual report, documented 104 cases of attacks on media freedoms, including arbitrary detentions, physical attacks, threats, tortures and murders. Most of these attacks were carried out by the Houthis (44%) and the Southern Transitional Council (24%).

The YJS said in a statement: “The Yemeni Journalists Syndicate expresses its strong condemnation of the military intelligence's continued pursuit, arrest and threat of journalists based on their professional activities, calling on the legitimate government to stop these violations that frequently affect journalists in Hadramout.

IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger, said: “The IFJ demands the immediate release of Hala Badawi and the return of her belongings. It’s unacceptable to harass and arrest media workers arbitrarily for their reporting. The responsible of this arbitrary arrest must be held accountable.”

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

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 146 countries

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