Houthis Use Death And Torture To Punish Yemeni Journalists

Yemeni Journalists held in Houthi prison

Since taking over the capital Sana’a in September, 2014, Houthi and Saleh militia have abducted dozens of Yemeni Journalists who oppose them. They exercised cruel abuses against journalists and news organizations — violations ranging from abduction, detention, harassment, assaults, torture, and murder.

Harassment, dislocation, and death.

The Yemeni Journalists Syndicate says that Sana’a is empty of independent and opposition media organizations as Houthis abducted journalists and shuttered and seized press organizations and blocked over 40 news sites and search engines. The YJS also reported that Houthis stopped salaries of journalists and prevented over 300 employees from performing their jobs at the Sana’a Radio, Yemen TV, Al-Thawrah Newspaper, and Saba News Agency which prompted dozens of journalists working for those news agencies to flee to their villages or leave Yemen.

In many instances, Houthis harassed journalists, forced them from their jobs and confiscated their pay, then replaced them with people loyal to them who have no media experience or journalistic ethics.

The Houthis’ goals behind their brutal crackdown on journalists is to silence any criticism of their corruption, sectarian agenda, or expose the crimes Houthi and Saleh militia commit against innocent civilians.

18 journalists were killed last year, with 16 still held at Houthi militia prisons enduring torture and abuse.

Amnesty International has described in a report the torture of Yemeni journalists as “brutal” and said that the detainees were arrested arbitrarily at gunpoint and subjected to enforced disappearance, while others were held in secret locations for long periods, and suffered from torture and other forms of ill-treatment, and were prevented from communicating with lawyers, or with their families.

Human rights organizations have accused the Houthi militia of murdering investigative journalist Mohamed Al-Absi, who died suddenly on December 20, 2016 as result of suffocation and carbon monoxide poisoning after eating dinner at a restaurant in Sana’a. Reporters Without Borders organization called for an independent investigation into the incident. In its 2016 annual worldwide round-up of journalists who are detained, held hostage or missing, Reporters Without Borders classified the Houthis as the second-largest hostage-takers of journalists, following the Islamic State (ISIS,DAESH).