Thursday, November 27, 2014

Intimidation of Yemeni Journalists Continues

(Left to right) Mostafa Ghalis, Rashad Al Sharabi and Hilal Al Jamrah. 

Journalist Rashad Al Sharabi posted on his Facebook today a plead to the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate about threats he has been receiving lately by Houthi-affiliated individuals and he asked for protection for him and his family in Sana'a.

When I asked him about the threats he answered, 'I have received threats through my Facebook inbox, email and mobiletelephone. I have been critical to the Houthi group since their takeover of Sana'a last September and I have been considered by them as (Da'ashi) as I belong to the Islah political party. Now, there's a person who has been going to my house, asking neighbours about where and how I live. He introduced himself as a member of the popular committee that's usually organized by the Houthis in our neighbourhood. In a previous incident, my car's tire was stabbed and totally destroyed."

Also, journalist Hilal Al Jamrah posted on his Facebook last week about the arrest of eight of his family members (which included his younger brother and father) by a pro-Houthi group in Thamar province. Hilal wrote that thanks to an intervention made by some tribesmen it was managed to release them after they signed on an agreement that they won't oppose "Ansar Allah".

Another situation of violating freedom of press was the abduction of journalist Mostafa Ghalis who was kidnapped by an armed group last Thursday based on his critical reportings about Bani Dhabyan district in Sana'a. Thankfully, Mostafa was released in the following day. He has not shared what exactly happened to him since he had to travel and attend the funeral of his grandfather.

As there has been an increase of media outlets in Yemen's local press, there has been also an increase of violations against media people. These mentioned cases are among dozens of other cases where journalists face intimidation and continuous threats for the work they do. The plight of freedom of press is worsening in the country especially after the takeover of the Houthi group in September 2014. It's utmost that the government exert its effort to secure protection and security to these voices - journalists who dare to speak and be watchdogs on the democratization process Yemen is supposed to go through.