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Urgent Action Outcome: Two Journalists Released From Huthi Detention

Mohammed al-Salahi and Mohammed al-Junaid

On 1 July, the Huthi de facto authorities released Yemeni journalists Mohammed al-Salahi and Mohammed al-Junaid who had been detained past their sentence expiry for roughly a year. Mohammed al-Salahi and Mohammed al-Junaid were arbitrarily detained by the Huthi Security and Intelligence forces in the city of Hodeidah in October and November 2018, respectively. During their detention, they were subjected to a series of gross human rights violations, including enforced disappearance, torture and other ill-treatment and denial of access to their lawyer. In accordance with their sentence, Mohammed al-Salahi and Mohammed al-Junaid should have been released on 20 June 2022 and 13 July 2022 respectively, but they were kept in custody despite having already served time in pre-trial detention. 


On 1 July, Yemeni journalists Mohammed al-Salahi and Mohammed al-Junaid were released from the Huthi-run Security and Intelligence Services detention centre in the city of Hodeidah, Yemen, after nearly five years in detention. 

In October and November 2018, Mohammed al-Salahi and Mohammed al-Junaid were arbitrarily detained by the Huthi Security and Intelligence forces in Hodeidah. On 18 December 2018, the Specialized Criminal Prosecution in Hodeidah charged Mohammed al-Junaid and Mohammed al-Salahi with “communicating with people working for the interest of the enemy” and “exchanging information on military sites.” On 28 June 2022, the court sentenced the two journalists to three years and eight months in prison in a secret trial on charges relating to spying and aiding the “Saudi and Emirati aggression.” Upon receiving it, Mohammed al-Salahi had already served his sentence, his release date should have been on 20 June 2022. Mohammed al-Junaid was due to be released a couple of weeks after the sentence, on 13 July 2022. Both detainees were kept in custody well beyond the end of their sentences.

During their nearly five-year detention, the journalists faced horrific human rights violations. According to his lawyer, Mohammed al-Salahi was enforcedly disappeared for five months at the beginning of his arrest and was subjected to severe beatings during interrogations. He was also blindfolded and forced to sign a confessional statement written by the security forces which he later refuted in trial. His lawyer filed claims of torture but the prosecutor failed to investigate them and did not dismiss confessions extracted under duress. Additionally, throughout Mohammed al-Salahi and Mohammed al-Junaid’s detention, their lawyer was only allowed to meet them once in November 2019 and to attend their prosecution session in Sana’a, the capital, on 18 December 2019.

In a message to Amnesty International, the lawyer of the two journalists said: “I appreciate all the efforts made by Amnesty International regarding [ Mohammed al-Salahi and Mohammed al-Junaid’s] case through continuous follow-up in the developments of their case from time to time until they were released. I ask Amnesty International and the international community to do their utmost to pressure all parties in Yemen to respect and guarantee freedom of opinion and expression and to release the remaining detained journalists and all prisoners of conscious.”


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