Yemen: Four Internet activists on trial over YouTube videos


In the Yemeni capital, Sana'a, the trial opened in the case of four peaceful Internet activists, who have been charged in connection with YouTube videos, in violation of their right to freedom of expression.

On 11 January 2023, the Specialised Criminal Court of First Instance held its first session in the trial of the four Internet activists, Mustafa Mohammed Al-Moumri, 29 years, Ahmed Abdelkhaleq Hajar, 43 years, Ahmed Yahya Allaw, 32 years, and Hammoud Mohammed Al-Mesbahi, 32 years.

The alleged charges brought by the Specialised Criminal Prosecution against Al-Moumri, Hajar and Allaw included, "broadcasting false and malicious news, statements and rumours and broadcasting them on channels they established under their names on YouTube with the intention of disturbing public security and harming the public interest, "and "inciting people to chaos and going out to the streets, storming ministries, paralysing their function and not submitting to the applicable laws." Al-Mesbahi has been accused of allegedly compiling the contents of the videos published by Al-Moumri.

The Specialised Criminal Prosecution has asked the court to issue its ruling against them in accordance with Articles (16), (21), (22), (23), (24), (135), (136) and (289) of the Crimes and Penal Code No. (12) for the year 1994, which carries with it a prison sentence of no less than three years.

The trial was postponed until 28 January 2023, after the four Internet activists denied the charges against them, and the defense team received the case file to study and prepare for the defense statement.

The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) condemns the arrest of the four Internet activists, Mustafa Mohammed Al-Moumri, Ahmed Abdelkhaleq Hajar, Ahmed Yahya Allaw. They have been arrested solely for their peaceful online activism in flagrant violation of their right to freedom of expression.

GCHR urges the de facto government in Sana'a, the Houthi group, to immediately and unconditionally release the four Internet activists, as well as protect freedom of expression for all citizens online and offline.