Yemen rebels sentence four journalists to death

By: AFP      Published: 08:34 PM, 11 Apr, 2020
Yemen rebels sentence four journalists to death

A court run by Yemen's Huthi rebels sentenced four journalists to death on Saturday for "treason" and espionage, a judicial official said.

The court in Huthi-held capital Sanaa "sentenced four journalists to death on charges of treason and spying for foreign states", the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Yemen's internationally recognised government slammed the ruling. "We strongly condemn the illegal death sentences" in a trial lacking "min. standard of justice & integrity", information minister Moammar Al-Eryani wrote on Twitter.

He named the journalists as Abdelkhaleq Omran, Akram Al Walidi, Harith Hamid, and Tawfiq Al Mansouri. The Iran-backed Huthis seized Sanaa from government forces in 2014, prompting a Saudi-led military intervention the following year.

The ensuing war has killed tens of thousands and plunged the Arab world's poorest country into what the United Nations calls the worst humanitarian disaster globally. Amnesty International says the Huthis have been holding 10 journalists in detention since 2015.

In a report last month, the rights watchdog criticised the rebels' Specialised Criminal Court, which issued Saturday's ruling.

Naming the four journalists sentenced on Saturday along with six others, it said they had been "prosecuted on trumped-up spying charges for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression".

"Journalists, human rights defenders, political opponents and members of religious minorities are among those subjected to unfair trial on spurious or trumped-up charges by this court," Amnesty said. It said accusations of spying carried mandatory death sentences under Yemeni law.