International and local organizations call to establish a coalition to overturn journalists’ death sentences

The lawyer “Sabra”: “I won’t be the reason to legitimize a prosecution against journalists on death row.”

The participants have recommended to establish an international coalition to overturn the four journalists’ death sentences in a webinar, which organized by the Media Freedoms observatory in Yemen.

The international organizations’ representatives, lawyers and defenders of journalists and media freedoms clarify that, there are several opportunities supposed to work on pushing to rescue the four Yemeni journalists on death row who are Abdulkhaleq Amran, Hareth Humid, Tawfiq Al-Mansouri and Akram Al-Walidi by the judiciary under Houthi group’s control (Ansar Allah) in Sana’a.

The journalists’ lawyer (Abdulmajid Sabra) in Sana’a threatened to quit from the defense on the journalists on death row, unless the specialized criminal court in Sana’a allows him to attend the next session to defend the four journalists, assured that he does not accept to be part of the legality of the trial against journalists, which he described it as lacking the most basic standards of a fair trial.

The member of the Abductees Mothers Association (Najla Fadel) presented the health case of journalists on death row, who suffered from a difficult health situation and deprived them of their most basic health rights, and they were constantly subjected to ill-treatment and torture, resulting in chronic and serious illnesses. Also, she said, “Houthi group prevented the visiting the journalists on death row for two years. They decreased contacting with them by short telephone communications before permanently severed seven months ago and nothing is known about them.”

Feras Hamdoni (Programs manager at DTI) presented multiple mechanisms should’ve taken by the Yemeni organizations to pressure on the international society and UN envoy to Yemen for releasing the journalists on death row. He assured to have independent and international mechanisms to investigate human rights violations. In addition; he pointed to the importance of the local organization’s role of defense of journalists as well as the supported international organizations as it exists. He clarified that, “the institute works with many partners in Yemen on promoting the rule of law, accountability and impunity for violations with a view of protecting journalists from such violations.”

On the other hand; the regional Director in the Article 19 (Salwa Azouani), “despite efforts made by international and local organizations to defend journalists especially the four journalists sentenced to death; these efforts lack joint coordination.” She confirmed that, “there are many opportunities to activate the role of local and international organizations in defending media freedoms.”

Also, she added that, “We’re in Article 19 ready to join any coalition to help in overturn the four journalists’ death sentences who have been arrested for more than seven years.”

The head of the Studies and Economic Media Center (Mustafa Nasr) referred to the case of the four journalists as one of the flagrant examples of grave violations against Yemeni journalists, assured that the journalists were kidnapped and subjected to a trial that lacked the most basic standards of justice on charges related to their journalistic work.

He clarified that, “as local and international organizations, we were under a humanitarian and ethical responsibility to pressure releasing the journalists on death row.”

At the beginning of the webinar, participants watched a documentary by Media Freedoms Observatory telling the story of the four journalists facing a death sentence who released by the Houthi group on the basis of their journalistic work, which began their story more than seven years ago during subjected to enforced disappearance, torture and prevented from visiting them.