Yemen: IFJ letter to UN General Secretary condemns death sentence against 4 journalists

After a Houthi Court in Yemen sentenced four journalists to death on charges of treason and spying for foreign states, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate (YJS) have written to the UN Secretary-General urging him to support moves to protect their lives and demand the release of all journalists jailed in Yemen.

Credit: IFJ The Yemeni journalists Abdelkhaleq Omran, Akram Al Walidi, Harith Hamid, and Tawfiq Al Mansouri

The co-signed letter, sent on 16 April, comes after a Houthi Court in  Sanaa, sentenced journalists Abdelkhaleq Omran, Akram Al Walidi, Harith Hamid, and Tawfiq Al Mansouri to dealth for treason and espionage on 11 April. They were arrested together with five other journalists in July 2015 at the Palace of Dreams Hotel in Sanaa, where their media had moved to access communications and utilities.

Since their arrest, they have been subjected to physical and psychological torture and deprived of basic rights guaranteed under international law. The IFJ has relentlessly denounced attacks onpress freedom in Yemen and the dangers facing journalists. On 9 April, IFJ and YJS called for the release of 20 journalists: 16 abducted and detained by the Houthi group, three arrested by the government and one kidnapped by Al-Qaeda.

YJS General Secretary Mohammed Shubaitah and IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger wrote in the letter: “Today, we need to hear from UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, to stand up for Yemeni journalists and unequivocally remind Ansar Allah, the de facto government in Sanaa, that torturing and executing journalists is a war crime and that the UN does not and will not work or cooperate with war criminals”.

For more Information, please contact the IFJ - Africa Office

1st Floor, Maison de la Presse, 5 Rue X Corniche, Medina,

BP 64257, Dakar, Senegal

Tel: +221- 33 867 95 86/87; Fax: +221- 33 827 02