Yemen: journalist Yahya al-Sawari must be released immediately

Freelance journalist Yahya al-Sawari was arrested on 3rd July by Yemeni security forces loyal to Saudi Arabia and has been held incommunicado since that day. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate (YJS) in calling for his immediate release and condemns the silence over his whereabouts.

Yemeni Journalists' Syndicate.

At the time of his arrest, Yahia Al-Sawari was working as a photographer in the central hospital of Al-Ghaydah, the capital of the Al-Mahra governorate. According to the Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies, for whom he was reporting, he was attempting to interview protesters injured during a raid led by forces aligned with the Saudi-led coalition.

Yemeni authorities did not disclose any information as to where the journalist is being held, but reports indicate he was transferred to a detention camp of the Saudi forces at Al-Ghaydah airport.

The YJS said: “We urge Yemeni security forces to immediately release Yahya al-Sawari. We will held them responsible for any injury suffered by him and we reiterate our call to respect journalists’ professional freedom and  their working conditions.

IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said: “Yahya al-Sawari’s incommunicado detention is particularly worrying given reports documenting cases of tortured journalists in Yemen, either by Ansar Allah (Houthis) or by the Yemeni government supported by Saudi Arabia. We call on all parties to the conflict to stop targeting journalists and to respect press freedom.”

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

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