Yemen: Skyline condemns the arrest of a journalist on account of social media posts and calls for her prompt release
Stockholm - Skyline states that the repeated threats and arrests of journalists and media professionals seriously and unacceptably violates the international legal rules that guarantee freedom of opinion, expression and journalistic work. These practices indicate the continuous decline that the country is witnessing at all levels, especially what journalists are exposed to by the various parties to the conflict.
In a statement issued today, Thursday, Skyline expresses its deep concern over the arrest of journalist and activist "Hala Badawi" for the fourth consecutive day by the Yemeni military intelligence in the Hadhramaut governorate. Badawi has been arrested on account of her journalism and social media posts calling for improving living conditions and holding to account those responsible for corruption in government institutions.
According to media reports, a relative of Badawi has said that, because of her writing, the journalist has been subjected to numerous threats over the last period. Her family fears even leaving their house on account of those threats. He added that this is not the first time that Badawi has been detained. She was arrested in February 2020 whilst on route to cover the popular protests held every Thursday in the governorate, at which protestors demand improvements to their living and economic situation, and the reopening of the region’s Al-Rayyan airport.
The Yemeni Union of Journalists (YUJ) as condemned the “process of arrest” and holds “the governor of Hadhramaut [Faraj al-Bahsani], who tops the list of press rights violators in the recognized government, fully responsible for the arrest and calls. It further calls for “the quick release of Badawi and the return of all her belongings, and accountability for this abuse of freedoms of opinion and expression
Skyline highlights that Yemen ranks 169 out of 180 countries in the 2021 World Press Freedom Index of Reporters without Borders Organization. Skyline further referred to the report of the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate which shed light on the violations that affected media freedoms between 2015 to 2021. These violations reached 1,359, including 38 cases of murder.
In turn, the human rights foundation "Skyline" held the Yemeni government, especially the security authorities, responsible for its violating human rights practices, especially against journalists and media professionals, stressing that the silence of the official authorities and their actual inaction on the ground indicates the possibility of collusion between government agencies and individuals who carry out these breaching practices.
Skyline concludes its statement by calling on the Yemeni authorities to release journalist "Badawi" and work to stop all forms of violations practiced by the security services against freedom of opinion and expression, stressing the importance of forming an impartial investigation committee to find out the repercussions of the recent incident and to bring the people involved in that incident to a fair trial. It further emphasizes that the real role of the security services is to provide security for citizens in a proactive manner that prevents any party from thinking about committing any violation of citizens' rights.