Yemen: Journalist Abdulhafez Al-Samadi released
Early on 04 May 2020, at 1:30 in the morning, journalist Abdulhafez Al-Samadi (pictured on the left), was released in Yemen and met with all members of his family for the first time since his arrest on 27 July 2019. Masked gunmen in civilian clothes from the Houthi Preventive Security Service had arrested Al-Samadi from his home in the centre of the capital, Sana'a.
The Public Prosecutor ordered Al-Samadi’s release, according to a letter (No. 89) dated 25 March 2020, addressed to the head of the Security and Intelligence Service, because there was “No way to proceed with the criminal prosecution” based on the charge directed against the journalist of “assisting the aggression.” Local legal sources confirmed that there was insufficient evidence against him and that he should not have been arrested in the first place. Despite the decision to release him more than a month ago, the relevant authorities have long delayed the implementation of the decision in disregard to his deteriorating health condition and his serious need for urgent medical care.
His 14-year-old daughter, Maraceel Abdulhafez (pictured on the right), had written a letter titled “The Conscience of Humanity,” which was posted by Muadh Al-Samadi, the journalist’s brother, on his Facebook page on 30 April 2020. It reads as follows: “My dear father, Abdulhafez Hazaa Thabet Al-Samadi, who has been detained since the date of 27 July 2019 in the capital, Sana’a, I miss you so much, as do my brothers and sisters Mersal, Jasmine, Ayham, and Asil, my mother, my grandmother, my grandfather and all the family miss you so much.” She said, "Happiness has left us since that fateful date, and we have come to know nothing but misery, sadness and fear for you, so that our bodies are overcome with grief for you."
His daughter added, " Father and my dear beloved and dearest than my soul, myself, my brothers, my mother, and all of our family have become more afraid for you after hearing the news of the spread of the deadly Coronavirus, and our fear for you is more that this virus will reach you while you are in detention in an unhealthy and insecure environment." She signed the letter as Maraceel, “the daughter of the detainee Abdulhafez Al-Samadi ... the innocent detainee who by a court ruling was ordered released more than a month ago, but until today he has not been released."
For more details about his case, see the following appeal: https://www.gc4hr.org/news/view/2295
While the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) welcomes the release of journalist Abdulhafez Al-Samadi on World Press Freedom Day, the NGO urges the de facto authorities, the Houthis, to immediately and unconditionally release all detainees arrested in violation of their right to freedom of expression, including journalists, activists, and prisoners of conscience, in addition to declaring full recognition of the right to public freedoms such as freedom of the press.