Geneva - SAM Organization for Rights and Liberties launched an urgent appeal to the international community, the United Nations and its Special Envoy for Yemen to intervene and pressure the Houthi group to release four journalists who were forcibly disappeared nearly seven years ago and are subjected to various types of violations without any legal justification.
In a statement issued today, Thursday, which marks 7 years since the arrest of the journalists, the international organization condemned the continued detention of four journalists sentenced to death by the Houthi group on charges of treason and communicating with foreign countries, and these journalists are “Abdulkhaleq Emran, Akram Al-Walidi, Al-Hareth Humaid, and Tawfiq Al-Mansouri”, expressing its fear that the group will execute them in the absence of any serious moves by the international community in order to activate this file.
The organization indicated that the Houthi group had kidnapped 10 journalists in 2015 from their homes and places of work and forcibly disappeared them, and practiced psychological and physical torture against them for 7 years, in addition to subjecting them to illegal trials on trumped-up charges that ended with issuing orders to execute a number of them in April 2020 by the Criminal Court in Sana’a, which is under the control of Ansar Allah, Houthi group.
The verdict included a decision to execute four journalists, and convict others to prison, before the Houthi group released five of those journalists as part of an exchange deal that was made between the group and the Yemeni government under international auspices whereas the Houthi group refused to release the four journalist on death row and exchange them for its fighters who were captured by the army on the front lines.
“SAM" stresses that the decision of the "Court of Appeal" of the Houthi group, which sentenced these journalists to death, violates many legal principles established by international law, including the principle of a fair trial, the right to defense and the principle of legality of crimes, emphasizing that the charges brought by the Houthi group's prosecutor are vague and aim to silence the media voice against the practices of the Houthi group.
In turn, the organization pointed out that the restrictions imposed by the Houthi group on journalists, activists and individuals violate the rights and obligations stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that guarantee the right to freedom of opinion and expression and the practice of journalistic work. They also violate the text of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 20, 2006, which affirmed that the widespread or systematic practice of enforced disappearance constitutes a crime against humanity.
At the end of its statement, SAM called on international bodies, led by the United Nations and its delegate in Yemen, to immediately intervene and pressure the Houthi group to stop the trial of the four journalists and work for their release. SAM also confirmed that the international community bears full responsibility for the lives of these journalists because of their unjustified silence, stressing that any solution to the conflict in Yemen must begin with ensuring the release of all detainees by all forces as a real sign of the sincere intentions of those parties.