Skyline Calls on the International Community to Immediately Take Action to Stop Execution of Yemeni Journalists Detained by Houthis
Madrid- Skyline International is appealing for the international community and the UN, and its special envoy to Yemen to immediately take action and pressure the Houthis to release four detained journalists at risk of execution promptly.
In its statement today, Thursday, Skyline International expressed its deep concern over the decision of the Criminal Appeal Court in Sana'a, run by the Houthis. This court has set March 7 as the date for the start of a new trial for four journalists, who have been sentenced to death on charges of treason and collaboration with foreign countries. The journalists are: Abdul Khaleq Imran, Akram El Walidi, Harith Hamid, and Tawfiq Al-Mansouri.
The Houthi group have abducted 10 journalists since 2015, forcibly disappearing and torturing them physically and physiologically for 6 years. They have been unfairly tried on trumped up charges that ended up with death sentence to some of them in April 2020 by a specialized court run by the Houthis.
Four journalists who had been awaiting trial since 2015 were sentenced to death. The court run by the Houthis convicted the other six journalists on similar charges but ordered their release after time served as part of an exchange deal concluded between the Houthi group and the Yemeni government under international sponsorship.
In turn, the Yemeni government condemned the recent decision, as the Yemeni Minister of Information, Muammar Al-Eryani, posted several tweets in which he held the Houthi group fully responsible for journalists' lives, physical and psychological torture and unfair trials.
Mohammed Emad, Director of Legal Affairs and Policies at Skyline International, said: “The ruling issued by the First Instance Criminal Court is null and void because it a non-competent authority issued it. accssued by the Supreme Judicial Council of the internationally recognized legitimate government. He further stressed that the decision to hold the trial, which the appellate court issued, is null. He then called on the Houthi group to stop using the judiciary as an instrument to punish their opponents, as such practices violate the principle of a fair trial
Imad stressed "the need for an international intervention, especially from the UN envoy to Yemen to put pressure on Houthi leadership to cease the unlawful trials against journalists and to free them immediately and unconditionally.
Skyline International affirms that the decision of the Houthi “Appeals Court” contravenes many of the legal principles approved by international law, including the principle of fair trial, the right to defense and the principle of legality of crimes. Therefore, it stressed that charges issued by the Houthis are overbroad that aimed at silencing the media voices that oppose their practices.
The human right foundation “Skyline” indicates that restricting journalists, activists, and individuals by the Houthis contravenes the rights and obligations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that guarantee the right to freedom of opinion, expression and the right to journalistic activism. It also violates the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 20 December 2006, which affirms that the widespread or systematic practice of forced disappearance is a crime against humanity.
At the end of its statement, Skyline International calls on the international bodies, led by the United Nations and its representative in Yemen, to intervene and put pressure on the Houthi group to stop the four journalists' trial and free them. It stressed that the international community holds full responsibility for the journalists' lives if the trial continues.