Yemen: Activists and journalists detained across the country


Civil society activists and journalists have been detained in various regions of Yemen by all parties to the current conflict, according to reports received from local sources by the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR).

On 21 March 2020, journalist Moufid Ahmed Al-Ghailani (photo on the left) stated on his Facebook page that he was detained for two and a half hours after filming a documentary on archaeological sites in the city of Taiz. He was prevented from filming and his camera and cell phone were confiscated, before he was taken into custody at the Seenah Police Station, which he described as "not suitable for animal to live in." When he was released, his personal belongings were returned to him.

Al-Ghailani writes articles for Al-Arabi newspaper, and works as a technical editor for both Al-Saeeda satellite channel and the news website Al-Mashhad. He studied journalism at the American University of Beirut (AUB).  

On 04 March 2020 in the morning, a security force in Marib Governorate surrounded the house of human rights lawyer Saleem Allaw (photo in the middle), and arrested and detained him in the security department's prison in Marib. He was released on 24 March 2020, after providing information of his whereabouts, despite there being no charges against him, according to the letter the Public Prosecution in Marib directed to the Governorate’s police chief.

Allaw works as a coordinator for Hood Organisation to defend rights and freedoms and highlight human rights violations in Ma’rib Governorate on his Twitter account. He also conducts field visits to promote human rights in his area.

Meanwhile, journalist Abdulhafiz Al-Samadi (photo on the right) remains in detention since 17 July 2019 when masked gunmen in civilian clothes from the Houthi Preventive Security Service kidnapped him from his home in the center of the capital, Sana'a. He has not been released, despite his deteriorating health.

On 14 March 2020, Muadh Al-Samadi published on his Facebook page an announcement that he is offering one of his kidneys for sale in order to provide income for his brother's family, who are suffering from hardship due to the imprisonment of their only breadwinner.

On 23 March 2020, Muammar Al-Aryani, the Minister of Communications in the government of President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, issued a decree bearing the number (6) for the year 2020, which stated in its first article, “The issuance of government newspapers and private ‘paper’ newspapers will be suspended and only electronic copies will be issued.” This is for the period from 25 March to 12 April  2020, as stated in Article (2) of the decree therein, as part of the package of preventive and precautionary measures taken by the government to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Gulf Centre for Human Rights urges the various parties in Yemen to fulfill all their human rights obligations, including to:

  1. Immediately and unconditionally release journalist Abdulhafiz Al-Samadi and dismiss all charges against him;
  2. Ensure that activists and journalists may carry out their peaceful and legitimate work in a non-hostile environment and stop targeting or threatening them;
  3. Fully respect public freedoms, including freedom of opinion and expression, and freedom of the press;
  4. Ensure, in all circumstances, that all human rights defenders including journalists are able to carry out their legitimate human rights work in Yemen without fear of punishment and free from all restrictions, including judicial harassment.