Women Journalists Without Chains on World Press Day: Press freedom in Yemen is at its worst

This year’s World Press Freedom Day, which falls on May 3 of each year, comes at a time when press freedom in Yemen has been at its worst since 1990 due to increasing dangers and challenges it faces. The war waged by the Houthi militia and ousted President Ali Saleh's forces has led to hundreds of journalists being killed, tortured, forcibly disappeared, arrested, abducted and etc.

Women Journalists Without Chains (WJWC) expresses its deep concern over serious violations against journalists by the putschists who are pursuing their anti-press approach. Undoubtedly, we all still remember how the militia leader, Abdel Malik al-Houthi, considered journalists more dangerous than fighters and mercenaries. We, in WJWC, see this statement as not only an incitement but also a direct order to target journalists.

Violations of press freedoms recorded during the past two years, 2015-2016, were mostly committed by the militia of the coup d'état in addition to other parties who are also responsible for violations against journalists, of whom about 23 journalists have been killed, while other 19 journalists, including a journalist detained by al-Qaeda in Hadhramaut, have been abducted by the coup’s militia, and are being subjected to the worst forms of torture.

Let us not forget to recall the case of journalist, Yahya Abdel Raqib al-Jubaihi, who was sentenced to death at the first trial session, in an unprecedented attempt by the coup’s militia to impose a state of fear on society.

Expressing its concern about the journalists' suffering in prisons and extremely serious health conditions caused by torture, Women Journalists Without Chains holds the coup’s militia accountable for the safety of their lives.

In this context, WJWC calls on international and human rights organizations, all the free people of the world and advocates of freedoms and rights, first and foremost the United Nations and International Federation of Journalists, to exert serious pressure on the Houthi militia and ousted president Saleh to release the kidnapped journalists before going into any peace plan. This is essential to ensure the commitment of the coup’s alliance to conditions of peace and its full compliance with the Security Council resolutions and the comprehensive national dialogue document.

WJWC also emphasizes the need for an investigation into violations committed against journalists, and to bring to justice individuals and parties who have committed violations against journalists because they have attacked freedom in the first place and bused the right of people to express their opinions and beliefs.

Issued by:

Women Journalists Without Chains

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

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