Yemen: Photojournalist and civil society activist targeted after publishing photos of their marriage

08.01.21

A photojournalist and civil society activist in Yemen have been subjected to a campaign of hatred by a preacher and his followers after they posted on social media photos and comments about their marriage in December 2020.

On 14 December 2020, on the occasion of their marriage, photojournalist Hamza Mustafa posted photos on his Twitter account and civil society activist Hanadi Anam posted on her Facebook page the following, “In a time of war when a person lives with the sound of bullets and in the rubble of what remains of the houses where the cannons are cracked between one second and the next, and after all the sounds are extinguished, the echo resigns, not echoing the wailing or the pain in that tragic time. It was the first truce I felt, the first gesture of peace. Love will come to tell us that the life of war is short and that our souls are fit for flight. Hamza and then peace came to my heart. "

They attached a group of photos they took during a photo session over the ruins of a tourist facility destroyed by war in Taiz Governorate, where they reside. Mustafa told the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) that, "We wanted through this to send a message of life and challenge from the rubble of war, in a normal and spontaneous way."

After publishing these photos, Mustafa was subjected to a widespread campaign of incitement and threats led by the preacher of the Al-Nour Mosque in the city of Taiz, Abdullah Ahmed Ali Al-Odaini, amplified by his sons and followers, starting on 15 December 2020. The preacher continued to incite people against Mustafa using social media networks and during the Friday sermon on 18 and 25 December 2002. The continuation of this campaign of incitement resulted in Mustafa being unable to fulfill his obligations as a photojournalist.

Mustafa has been working as a photojournalist from Taiz since 2015, and started working as a journalist since 2014, having written many newspaper articles for the local press, where he works as an editor for Al-Mowaten Net, a local news site.

Anam studies media at Al-Ataa University and works as a reporter for Al-Iraqiya News Channel. She told GCHR that she believes in the slogan, "No one can make a symphony on their own, together we create and are creative." She has also been a civil society activist for seven years. She is a member of the “My Contribution is Development” Network and a field monitor for Prodigy Systems.

GCHR offers best wishes to photojournalist Hamza Mustafa and civil society activist Hanadi Anam on the occasion of their marriage, and declares full solidarity with them. GCHR condemns the campaign of incitement and the continuous threats against them and considers it a flagrant violation of their personal freedom and their right to a free and secure life, and demands all those involved in these hate campaigns to immediately stop and to respect the civil and human rights of all citizens.