Four journalists have been sentenced to death by a Houthi court in Yemen after they were convicted of spying charges, their lawyer said. The four were identified as Abdel-Khaleq Amran, Akram al-Walidi, Hareth Hamid and Tawfiq al-Mansouri.
Last year, Amnesty International called the charges “trumped up”, claiming that the detained reporters had been beaten, deprived of water and forced to hold cinder blocks for several hours.
The four were among a group of 10 journalists who were detained by the Iran-backed rebels and accused of “collaborating with the enemy”, in reference to the Saudi-led coalition that has been at war with the Houthis since 2015, lawyer Abdel-Majeed Sabra said.
The court in the rebel-held capital, Sana’a, convicted the other six journalists on similar charges, including “spreading false news and rumours” to aid the coalition, but ordered their release after time served, Sabra said.
He said the Houthis did not allow defence lawyers to attend the trial. The verdict can be appealed.
Nine journalists were arrested in a raid on a hotel in Sana’a in June 2015, and the 10th was detained at his home in Sana’a that August.
Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest nation, has been convulsed by civil war since 2014, when the Houthis took control of the country’s north, including Sana’a. The Saudi-led military coalition intervened against the Houthis the following year, conducting relentless airstrikes and a blockade of Yemen.
The conflict has killed more than 100,000 people and created the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, leaving millions suffering from food and medical care shortages.
Both sides of the conflict have violated press freedoms, according to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists. (Source: The Guardian)