Yemen: Journalists arrested and prevented from doing their jobs and woman human rights defender missing
The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) is concerned about the fate of a journalist and a woman human rights defender who have been arrested or kidnapped in Yemen. GCHR calls on the authorities to protect freedom of expression and allow journalists to do their work.
On 02 October 2022, Al-Mahriah TV correspondent Saad Al-Mahri was prevented from covering the Mahri language festival held in the Qishn District of Al-Mahrah Governorate, by members of the guards of the historic Sultan's Palace belonging to the Southern Transitional Council.
Al-Mahriah TV is a Yemeni channel concerned with the general affairs of the country, and its reporter was trying to do his journalistic work covering an annual festival held on the occasion of Mahri Language Day.
On 01 October 2022, an armed group affiliated with the Houthi group kidnapped Abad Al-Jaradi, a sports journalist and board member of Wahda Sanaa Club, from his home in the capital, Sana'a. Local sources confirmed that the reason for targeting him was his criticism of the Yemeni Football Association.
He had previously been kidnapped in front of his club, the Sana'a Unit, and was not released until four months later, on 04 November 2018, and no charges were brought against him.
There are conflicting reports about the fate of woman human rights defender Dr. Fatima Saleh Al-Arwali, the head of the Habitat Organization for Human Rights Development. Dr. Al-Arwali published her last post on her Facebook page on 01 August 2022. She also continued her activity on her Twitter account until 31 July 2022, when she posted the following tweet, “What prevents young talents from serving the cause of the homeland but their frustration by decision-makers who fear for their positions that someone who is better than them will emerge without looking at the common goal, which is serving and developing the country.” Dr. Al-Arwali disappeared completely after that and stopped all her social media activities.
While local reports confirmed her kidnapping by the Houthi group in the city of Al-Bayda, other reports said that the Emirati authorities arrested her after she traveled to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where her family resides.
Once again, the GCHR calls on international mechanisms, including those of the United Nations, as well as the European Union and governments with influence in Yemen, to continue calling on all parties to the conflict to;
- Release prisoners of conscience, including journalists;
- End the killing of journalists and hold those responsible to account; respect for freedom of the press; and
- End the detention of journalists, human rights defenders, academics and online activists.
They should emphasize the protection of public liberties, the liberties of civilian citizens, and humanity.
GCHR calls on the UAE government and the de facto government in Yemen, the Houthis, to provide any information they have about what happened to human rights defender Dr. Fatima Saleh Al-Arwali and where is her current location, and to provide her with all forms of protection.