The YJS last week condemned Sanaa’ authorities’ refusal to release journalists Salah Al-Qadi and Abd al-Hafiz al-Samadi, a decision in violation of two recent judicial decisions.
A reporter with Suhail TV, Salah Al-Qadi was kidnapped in August 2015 by the Houthi group. He has been illegally detained for four years and a half, tortured and denied family visits, according to local reports. A court decision to release him was made on 9 March.
Abd al-Hafiz al-Samadi was abducted in July 2019 from his home in Sanaa by Houthi militia in plainclothes. The Prosecution accused him of communicating with and publishing news in the interest of the enemy, an unsubstantiated accusation which the journalist denied. Having several underlying health issues, his condition significantly deteriorated in the beginning of the year prompting calls to release him amidst reports of physical and psychological torture. On 25 March the court decided to free him on bail for lack of evidence.
The journalists, however, were not released. The IFJ and the YJS say it is unconceivable that the Houthi group would not respect the decisions issued by its own judiciary and hold the authority responsible for the fate of the journalists.
On Monday 6 March the YJS issued its quarterly press freedom report in which it documents attacks against journalists and on media freedom in the country. The report lists the names of 20 journalists currently in jail, 16 abducted and detained by the Houthi group, three arrested by the government and one kidnapped by Al-Qaeda.
“Detaining journalists whose only crime was to do their job is appalling”, said IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger. “Refusing to release them despite clear court decisions and exposing them to mortal disease in prison would be criminal. I demand, on behalf of the IFJ, the immediate release of all journalists in jail”.