Amnesty calls on Houthis to free journalists on death raw

Republican Yemen

Amnesty International urged on Friday the Iran-backed Houthi militia to quash the death penalty and order the immediate release of four Yemeni journalists facing death sentence on charges of “espionage”.

This comes two days before an appeal hearing on May 22 before the Houthi-controlled Specialised Criminal Appeals Division in Sana’a, Yemen.

The London-based NGO asserted that the four journalists had “a grossly unfair trial.”

“Yemen’s Houthi de facto authorities must quash the death sentences and order the immediate release of four Yemeni journalists who are facing execution following a grossly unfair trial,” the rights group said in a statement on Friday.

The four convicted journalists, Abdelkhaleq Omran, Akram al-Walidi, Harith Hamid, and Tawfiq al-Mansouri, were among ten journalists who were arrested in June 2015 and without charge or trial for more than four years.

It was until April 2020 when a Houthi court sentenced the four journalists to death on charges of leaking information that the Arab coalition could use to bomb sites used for military purposes, which Amnesty called “a shame of a trial.”

“The Houthi de facto authorities must quash these death sentences and release these journalists immediately. This has been a sham of a trial since the beginning and has borne a terrible toll on the men and their families. Pending their overdue release, the journalists must be provided with urgent medical care. The denial of medical treatment for the seriously ill is an act of cruelty which amounts to torture and other ill-treatment,” said Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Deputy-Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

“The Houthi authorities must also immediately release all those it is currently detaining simply to settle political scores or exercise control. These include journalists, human rights defenders, political opponents, members of religious minorities. The Houthis de facto authorities are bound to respect the basic and inalienable rights of individuals under their control,” Maalouf added.

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