Amnesty International this week called on Yemen’s Shiite Houthi rebels to release “immediately” four journalists sentenced to death for “espionage” in the country, which has been at war since 2014, following an “unfair” trial and “multiple human rights violations “.
Adjacent to Iran, the Houthis control most of northern Yemen, including the capital Sanaa, which has been captured by internationally recognized government forces backed by a Saudi-led military alliance that has invaded Saudi Arabia. in March 2015.
“The de facto Houthi authorities must overturn the death sentences and order the immediate release of the four Yemeni journalists who are in danger of being executed following a blatantly unfair trial,” the London-based non-governmental organization said in a statement. .
Amnesty clarified that the hearing of the appeal they have submitted to Sanaa is expected to take place today, Sunday, May 22nd.
In April 2020, a rebel court found Akram al-Walidi, Abdelhalek Amran, Haret Hamid and Tawfiq al-Mansouri guilty of “treason and espionage for foreign forces,” according to a Yemeni court source.
According to the NGO, the four journalists suffered multiple human rights violations, from enforced disappearances to secret imprisonment, going through beatings and denial of access to medical care.
At the time of the verdict, Amnesty had strongly criticized the process, claiming that the “espionage allegations were completely fabricated” and that the journalists were simply “peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression”.
For its part, Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF) denounced the “completely unacceptable decision” which reflects the “systematic repressive nature” of the Houthi regime “towards journalists” and their intention to clear their accounts with all the media that criticize them “.
Practically cut off from the rest of the world, Yemen remains mired in one of the worst humanitarian tragedies on the planet. The war has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, displaced millions more, and left much of the population of the poorest country on the Arabian Peninsula facing the specter of large-scale famine, according to the United Nations.