Call for the release of Yemeni journalists sentenced to death

Four Yemeni journalists sentenced to death: International media freedom organisations call for the respect of freedom of expression and protection of journalists

The death sentence against four Yemeni journalists by a court in Sanaa on Saturday April 11, 2020, deeply shocked the international community. In the same ruling, six other journalists were sentenced to prison terms. The journalists’ defense and media development organisations signatory to this press release, call for their immediate release and the respect of freedom of information at a time when the Yemeni population needs, more than ever, useful and reliable information.

Four Yemeni journalists, Abdulkhaleq Amran, Akram al-Waleedi, Hareth Hameed and Tawfiq al-Mansouri, charged with treason and espionage, were sentenced to death and six other journalists – Hesham Tarmoum, Hisham al- Yousifi, Essam Balghaith, Haitham al-Shihab, Hassan Anaab and Salah al-Qaedy – were sentenced to prison terms and three years of police supervision, in the same ruling.

These journalists were arrested in Sanaa in June and August 2015. Since then, they have been detained in Sanaa, before appearing in a criminal court, on April 11, 2020 for “treason and espionnage”.

These sentences are against the principles of freedom of the press in a country that today, more than ever, needs reliable and useful information for the benefit of the Yemeni population severely affected by the crisis.

None of the parties to the conflict should interfere with the work of journalists, because in times of conflict, journalists play a very important role in the protection of civilians and the facilitation of the peace process.

In this context, we salute the community of journalists in Yemen who continue to work in spite of extremely difficult security conditions, strong political pressure and a precarious social context.

The journalists’ defense and media development organisations signatory to this press release denounce the use of the death penalty in all circumstances and request that the right of journalists to exercise their profession be respected by all parties to the conflict, so that all journalists are sufficiently protected from insecurity and the escalation of violence.