Yemen: BelqeesTV correspondent killed in attack at Aden Airport

A TV journalist was killed in a missile attack on Aden Airport on 30 December. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate, the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate (YJS) condemn the attack and demand the opening of an investigation into the killing and all other deaths and rights violations affecting journalists and the media sector.

Smoke billows at the Aden Airport on December 30, 2020, after explosions rocked the Yemeni airport shortly after the arrival of a plane carrying members of a new unity government. Credit: Saleh Al-Obeidi / AFP

Journalist and BelqeesTV correspondent, Adeeb Al-Janani, was reporting on live TV the arrival of the Yemeni government plane, when the airport was hit by 4 missiles, leaving 25 casualties and 110 wounded. Among the wounded were the correspondent of the Yemeni channel ‘Al Fadhayia’, Sadok El Ritibi, who was also reporting the government’s arrival.

It is still unclear who is behind the attack and nobody claimed responsibility for it. The strike took place at the moment when the plane carrying Yemen’s newly-formed Cabinet was landing after returning from Riyadh, the capital of Saudi-Arabia.

In the last ten years, 44 journalists have been killed in Yemen, but none of the perpetrators has been brought to justice to date, according to the YJS. Yemen was one of the five countries targeted by the IFJ as part of its 2020 campaign to end impunity for crimes against journalists. In a letter addressed to the internationally recognized government of president Hadi and the de facto government in Sana controlled by the Houthis, the IFJ had called both warring parties to end impunity for crimes against journalists.

Press freedom continues to be severely compromised in Yemen. Between July and September 2020, YJS reported 22 violations ranging from arrests and threats to assaults and banned coverage, pointing at Yemen’s government and the Houthis as mainly responsible for the attacks against media workers.

In a statement published on 30th December, the YJS said: “The union expresses its sorrow following this criminal explosion which is the result of the constant targeting of the press sector since the beginning of the war which has already claimed more than 38 victims - journalists and photographers - since 2015. The union renews its demand for the opening of an investigation into every death or violation affecting journalists and the press sector”.

IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger, said: “We send our deep condolences to the family of Adeeb Al-Janini, his friends and colleagues. He was the last colleague to pay the ultimate price for doing his job during a merciless 2020. The different authorities in Yemen are responsible for taking steps to end the ongoing killings and attacks on journalists and media. They must take immediate actions against the perpetrators to show that they are not complicit in these crimes." 

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

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