Ten journalists detained by the Houthis began a hunger strike on 9 May to protest against their maltreatment. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the world’s largest organisation of journalists, backed its affiliate the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate (YJS) in calling for their immediate release and condemned the continuous harassment of journalists.
Taoufik Al-Mansoury, Hasan Anab, Akaram am waledy, Essam belghayth, Hareth Hamid, haytham Shehab, Hesham Al youssify, Hesham tarmoum, Salah al Qaady and Abdelkhalek Omran have been detained by the Houthis in Habra prison in Yemen’s capital Sana’a for over a year. Their families informed YJS that they began a hunger strike on 9 May and claim that they will not stop until they are released.
Reports published by the YJS and the IFJ have documented numerous cases of torture and maltreatment of detained journalists. The YJS claims that the journalists are being denied visits, healthy nutrition and access to medicines. A number of journalists have fallen ill.
On 8 May military forces also stormed into the headquarters of Al-Shomo’ Press Corporation and newspaper in Akhbar al Yawm in Aden city, southwestern Yemen, and seized equipment.
The YJS said: “ We call on all human rights and international organisations to show their solidarity with the detained journalists and to work for their release and to provide them protection.”
IFJ President Jim Boumelha said: “There is no word to describe the level of fear and atrocities our colleagues in Yemen have to live with. Our jailed colleagues must be set free immediately. Warring parties in Yemen must stop using journalists as weapons in their deadly conflict. Let them report freely and inform the Yemeni people”.