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Yemeni journalists imprisoned by Houthis begin hunger strike in protest

Tribesmen loyal to the Houthi movement attend a gathering in Yemen's capital Sanaa, April 17, 2016.
Tribesmen loyal to the Houthi movement attend a gathering in Yemen's capital Sanaa, April 17, 2016.

REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

This statement was originally published on 12 May 2016.

Ten journalists detained by the Houthis began a hunger strike on 9 May to protest against their maltreatment. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the world's largest organisation of journalists, backed its affiliate the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate (YJS) in calling for their immediate release and condemned the continuous harassment of journalists.

Taoufik el Mansoury, Hasan Anab, Akaram am waledy, Essam belghayth, Hareth Hamid, haytham Shehab, Hesham Al youssify, Hesham tarmoum, Salah al Qaady and Abdelkhalek Omran have been detained by the Houthis in al Habra prison in Yemen's capital Sana'a for over a year. Their families informed YJS that they began a hunger strike on 9 May and claim that they will not stop until they are released.

Reports published by the YJS and the IFJ have documented numerous cases of torture and maltreatment of detained journalists. The YJS claims that the journalists are being denied visits, healthy nutrition and access to medicines. A number of journalists have fallen ill.

On 8 May military forces also stormed into the headquarters of Al-Shomo' Press Corporation and newspaper in Akhbar al Yawm in Aden city, southwestern Yemen, and seized equipment.

The YJS said: “ We call on all human rights and international organisations to show their solidarity with the detained journalists and to work for their release and to provide them protection.”

IFJ President Jim Boumelha said: “There is no word to describe the level of fear and atrocities our colleagues in Yemen have to live with. Our jailed colleagues must be set free immediately. Warring parties in Yemen must stop using journalists as weapons in their deadly conflict. Let them report freely and inform the Yemeni people.”

What other IFEX members are saying
  • Ten journalists held by Houthi rebels are on hunger strike

    “We are very concerned about the detention of journalists in Yemen and we appeal to their abductors to release them unconditionally,” said Alexandra El Khazen, the head of RSF’s Middle East desk. “We remind all parties to the conflict that they are required by international law to protect media personnel, like other civilians.”

Case history

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