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STOCKHOLM - Skyline International calls the Yemeni government for the immediate release of a journalist who has been arbitrarily detained without trial for more than a year and suffers serious health deterioration.

The Stockholm-based international organization has compiled several testimonies about a reporter, "Muhammad Ali al-Muqri”, who is suffering from worsening physical and mental health condition since he was detained on March 16, 2019 at the Political Security Directorate in Marib.

According to testimonies gathered by "Skyline", al-Muqri is being held in the Political Security( intelligence) Prison in Marib, after he surrendered to the authorities, fearing retaliation from the Houthi rebels. He was found detained with worsening psychological condition in the intelligence prison, only after his families made appeals to the authorities. Officials in Ma'rib have not yet revealed any information about his situation despite the fact he is in dire psychological condition.

A member of the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate, Nabil Al-Assidi, stated that the Al-Muqri case is “ambiguous” and that authorities in Marib are not taking this case seriously, “there is no clear charge against him, and his mental health is deteriorating, there is no evidence of any committed crime, and there are no obvious reasons for him to stay in prison. "

Accordingly, Skyline calls on the Yemeni government to unconditionally release Al-Muqri, to provide an official explanations and justifications for his detention, and to proceed with his rehabilitation immediately.

The International organisation emphasizes the importance of ensuring that all journalists in Yemen can undertake their legitimate work without fear of reprisals and in a manner free from all restrictions, including judicial harassment, arrest and the prosecution of their families.

Skyline also stresses that international law and human rights laws protect journalists and their freedom to work in conflict areas, as Article 79 of the Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 declares, ”journalists engaged in dangerous professional missions in areas of armed conflict shall be considered civilians (...), they shall be protected as such under the Conventions and this Protocol.

According to documents from the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate, 300 journalists have been arrested since 2015 in Yemen, 15 of whom are still held in Houthi prisons, 5 in government prisons, and one forcibly disappeared by Al Qaeda in Hadhramaut since 2016.