Court sentences four journalists to death
Nine of the journalists were arrested in a single raid on the Qasr al-Ahlam hotel in Sana’a on 9 June 2015. Abdelkhaleq Amran, Hisham Tarmoom, Tawfiq al-Mansouri, Hareth Hamid, Hasan Annab, Akram al-Walidi, Haytham al-Shihab, Hisham al-Yousefi and Essam Balgheeth were working at the hotel as it was one of the few places in the city that had an internet connection and electricity.
The 10th journalist, Salah al-Qaedi, was detained at his home in Sana’a by members of Huthi forces on 28 August 2015 according to an eyewitness. Five minutes later, they returned to the house and demanded that the family hand over Salah al-Qaedi’s laptop and equipment threatening to arrest the rest of the family. When the family said that they did not have his equipment, Huthi forces arrested all seven male relatives and held them for 48 hours.
On 16 March 2016, nine of the journalists, excluding Salah al-Qaedi, were moved from al-Thawra pre-trial detention facility to al-Habra. Salah al-Qaedi had been detained in al-Habra since mid-October 2015. On 23 May 2016, the families of all 10 detained journalists went to visit their relatives in al-Habra. On arrival, prison guards told the families that the journalists were no longer there but refused to reveal their whereabouts.
The 10 journalists were detained without charge or trial until December 2018, when they were formally charged after being questioned in the presence of their lawyers. Their first trial session was held on 9 December 2019. Without informing their lawyers and families, the court sentenced Tawfiq al-Mansouri, Abdelkhaleq Omran, Akram al-Walidi and Hareth Hamid to death during their latest trial session on 11 April 2020. Lawyers were barred from representing the men and from attending the court session.
All parties to the conflict, including Huthi forces, the Yemeni government, the Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (UAE)-led coalition and UAE-backed Yemeni forces have carried out arbitrary detentions.
In areas they controlled, Huthi forces arbitrarily arrested and detained critics and opponents as well as journalists, human rights defenders and members of the Baha’i community, subjecting scores to unfair trials, incommunicado detention and enforced disappearance. The majority of those targeted have been members or supporters of the political party al-Islah.
The internationally recognized Yemeni government has also harassed, threatened and arbitrarily detained human rights defenders and other activists. Meanwhile, UAE-backed Yemeni forces in southern Yemen conducted a campaign of arbitrary detentions and enforced disappearances. In May 2018, Amnesty International detailed the cases of 51 men held in a network of secret prisons by UAE and Yemeni forces operating outside the command of Yemen’s government, including individuals detained between March 2016 and May 2018.