Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Yemeni Journalist Sentenced to Death for Being a "Saudi Spy"

A Houthi-affiliated Yemeni court in Sana'a, Yemen sentenced today Yemeni journalist and academic, Yahya al-Joubaihy to death for treason, Houthi-owned news agency Saba'a News Agency reported. "The criminal court issued a death sentence against Yahya al-Joubaihy, 61, for treason and spying with the enemy state {Saudi Arabia}, as correspondence documents between him and the enemy proved his treason," Saba'a News Agency claimed, "Yahya contacted Saudia Arabia illegally, communicated with its ambassador and secretary and delivered reports that harm the republic of Yemen. Yahya also received 4500 Saudi riyals monthly starting from 2010."

Yahya's house was stormed by Houthi forces on the 6th of September in 2016 and he was detained along confiscating his personal belongings, mobile, computer and documents, according to a statement of condemning issued by Yemeni Journalists' Syndicate today. Just before Yahya's arrest, his son was also arrested by Houthi forces, until today.

source: Yahya's daughter on facebook. 

Journalists and writers have always been subjected to a great risk in Yemen along Saleh's rule, but the deteriorating condition for journalists under Houthis' rule is unprecedented. This is probably the very first time a journalist is sentenced to death. Yahya is one face of many journalists and young men abducted and forcibly detained by the Houthis since they overtook Sana'a city in Septemeber 2014. Reporters without borders have ranked the Houthis for two years in a row as the second top abuser of press freedom in the world after the Islamic State.

"Statistics show until the end of 2016 that more than 3,000 men have been abducted by the Houthis", on a phone call a spokesperson of "Mothers of the Abductees," told me. The coalition is compromised of mothers, daughters and sisters and female relatives of abducted and forcibly disappeared men in Houthis' prisons in Sana'a and few other Yemeni cities. The spokesperson who asked to hide its name for security reasons also added, "a great deal of the abducted group has been hidden for two years now without granting them any contact with their families. Let alone that they have been in jail with no trial, whatsoever."

A couple days ago, Islahi-owned TV channel, al-Suhail aired a video report of the Houthi-affiliated court's trail of 36 people in accusation of supporting Saudi Arabia. One of the jailed men pleaded loudly that this is the first time he and the imprisoned people see light and that he has been tortured and he demanded to have a fair trail.

Yemen's president, Hadi and six other top officials in his government were sentenced to death for "high treason", last month. No comment of any of these death sentences has been made by Hadi's office. Meanwhile, social media pages in Yemen have been flooded with words of solidarity with Yahya, petitions and numberless calls for his release, asserting that Yahya is absolutely innocent.

Yahya wrote regular columns in Saudi dailies Okaz and Al-Madina, as well as in Yemeni newspapers. He served at the government's press department in the 1990s and 2000s when Saleh was president and Hadi was his deputy.

In solidarity with Yahya and all our victim brothers of injustice sitting behind Houthis' jail!