Yemen: Yemen: Journalists Oussama Salem Almaqtari and Mohamed Al-Qadesi killed in Taiz
Yemeni journalists are facing life threating situations, as they struggle to report on the daily suffering of Yemeni people due to the civil war. The last month took a heavy toll on Yemeni media workers. Citizen journalist Oussama Salem Al-Maqtari (photo to the left) and photojournalist Mohamed Al-Qadesi (photo to the right) were both killed, and journalist Bashir Aklan was injured during military actions in Taiz province.
Al-Qadesi, who worked as a correspondent for the privately-owned broadcaster Belqueez TV, died on 22 January 2018 after an artillery bombardment targeted a military parade in Khayami, in the province of Taiz. He was well known for his war photos of military actions and the depth of destruction occurring as a result. Aklan, a journalist who previously worked for Russia Today (RT) from 2014 to 2016, was injured by the bombardment.
The bombardment that killed Al-Qadesi and seven civilians is still under investigation by many international entities, as parties to the conflict are accusing each other of being responsible and denouncing others for the attack.
Al-Maqtari was murdered on 27 January 2018, after being shot in the head by an unknown assailant with a Kalashnikov gun during a confrontation between the army and the Houthis.
Local sources claim Al-Maqtari was killed by Houthi gunfire. Al-Maqtari worked as freelance journalist for many local and international media agencies and was covering the news of the clashes near Mohammed Ali Osman Private School in the city of Taiz, South Yemen. He raised many concerns about the collateral damage done by the parties to the conflict and the international coalition that is bombing Yemen, which impacted the lives of Yemeni civilians.
Taiz city endured many military confrontations after the coup d'état of 2015 between Houthis and the forces loyal to Abd-Rabbuh Mansur Hadi that are supported by the Saudi-led military coalition. Taiz was under a horrible siege which the United Nations declared led to an "extreme and irreversible" food shortage because of armed clashes.
Yemen is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists, and local journalists may not always receive the safety training that their international counterparts receive.
The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) expresses its condolences to the families of Mohamed Al-Qadesi and Oussama Salem Al-Maqtari, and calls for:
- A transparent and independent investigation into the deaths of Oussama Salem Al-Maqtari and Mohamed Al-Qadesi;
- Proper security training and protection to be offered to all journalists – foreign and local – working in conflict zones in Yemen and the region;
- Release of all citizen journalists detained by parties to the conflict because of their coverage of the war; and
- Full respect for freedom of expression by all parties to the conflict.