SKeyes Center for Media and Cultural Freedom - Samir Kassir Foundation

Four journalists in Yemen sentenced to death for spying

Sunday , 12 April 2020

On April 11, 2020, a court run by Yemen’s Houthi rebels has sentenced four journalists to death after their conviction on spying charges, their defence lawyer has said.

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, Abdel-Majeed Sabra said.

Last year Amnesty International called the charges “trumped up”. The rights group said the detained reporters had been beaten, deprived of water and forced to hold cinder blocks for several hours.

Sabra identified the four who were sentenced to death as Abdel-Khaleq Amran, Akram al-Walidi, Hareth Hamid and Tawfiq al-Mansouri.

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.

According to a copy of an indictment sent to CPJ, the journalists were charged with spreading false news "in support of the crimes of Saudi aggression and its allies against the Republic of Yemen."

At the same court proceeding today, six other detained journalists--Hesham Tarmoum, Hisham al-Yousifi, Essam Balghaith, Haitham al-Shihab, Hassan Anaab, and Salah Al-Qaedy—were sentenced to time served in prison and three years of so-called police supervision.

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