Yemen: Four journalists appeal death sentence
On 22 April 2020, four journalists filed an appeal after being sentenced to death in Yemen on charges of spying and spreading false news. Six other journalists in the same case were ordered to be freed after five years in detention, but only one of them has been released on 23 April 2020.
Human rights lawyer Abdelmajeed Sabra began the appeals process after receiving a new power of attorney on 20 April 2020 from the four journalists, Abdulkhaleq Ahmed Amran, Akram Saleh Al-Walidi, Al-Hareth Saleh Hamid and Tawfiq Mohammed Al-Mansouri, to defend them. They were convicted on 11 April 2020 by the Specialised Criminal Court in Yemen’s capital Sanaa, which is controlled by Houthi authorities.
The Specialised Criminal Court had examined the case involving the ten journalists, and sentenced Abdulkhaleq Ahmed Amran, Akram Saleh Al-Walidi, Al-Hareth Saleh Hamid and Tawfiq Mohammed Al-Mansouri to death. The judge sentenced the other six journalists, Hisham Ahmed Tarmoom, Hisham Abdulmalik Al-Yousefi, Haitham Abdulrahman Al-Shihab, Essam Amin Balgheeth, Hassan Abdullah Annab and Salah Muhammad Al-Qaedi (picture on the rights), to time already served in prison, or approximately five years, and also placed them under police supervision for a period of three years, in addition to confiscating the electronic devices and materials in their possession when they were arrested.
On 18 February 2019, the Public Prosecution made the following allegations against the ten journalists: “During the period from 1/1/2014 until 12/12/2015, they broadcasted false and malicious news and rumours and propaganda with intent to weaken the defense of the nation and weaken the morale of the people; disturbing public security, spreading terror among people, and harming the public interest by setting up several websites and pages on the Internet and social networks and running them in secret in several hotels in the capital, Sanaa.” They were accused of “collaborating with the enemy,” namely the Saudi-led coalition that has been fighting a war against the Houthis in Yemen since 2015.
Meanwhile, despite the court’s decision to release the six journalists, the authorities are still delaying their release, as only journalist Salah Muhammad Al-Qaedi has been released as of 25 April 2020.
For more information, see our previous appeal issued on 11 April 2020:
The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) once again calls on the de facto authorities, the Houthis, to overturn the sentences against the ten journalists, particularly the death sentences imposed on journalists Abdulkhaleq Ahmed Amran, Akram Saleh Al-Walidi, Al-Hareth Saleh Hamid and Tawfiq Mohammed Al-Mansouri, and release them immediately. GCHR further calls on the authorities to immediately free journalists Hisham Ahmed Tarmoom, Hisham Abdulmalik Al-Yousefi, Haitham Abdulrahman Al-Shihab, Essam Amin Balgheeth, and Hassan Abdullah Annab, following the court’s order to release them on 11 April 2020.