Yemen’s Houthi rebels sentence 4 reporters to death
SANAA, Yemen (AP) — A court run by Yemen’s Houthi rebels on Saturday sentenced four journalists to death after their conviction on spying charges, their defense lawyer said.
The four were among a group of 10 journalists who were detained by the Iran-backed rebels and accused of “collaborating with the enemy,” in reference to the Saudi-led coalition that has been at war with the Houthis since 2015, lawyer Abdel-Majeed Sabra said.
Amnesty International last year called the charges “trumped-up.” The rights group said the detained reporters were beaten, deprived of water and forced to hold cinder blocks for several hours.
Sabra identified the four who were sentenced to death as Abdel-Khaleq Amran, Akram al-Walidi, Hareth Hamid and Tawfiq al-Mansouri.
The court in the rebel-held capital, Sanaa, convicted the other six journalists on similar charges, including “spreading false news and rumors” to aid the coalition, but ordered their release after time served, Sabra said.
He said the Houthis did not allow defense lawyers to attend the trial. The verdict can be appealed.
Nine journalists were arrested in a raid on a hotel in Sanaa in June 2015, and the 10th was detained at his home in Sanaa that August.
Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest nation, has been convulsed by civil war since 2014, when the Houthis took control of the country’s north, including Sanaa. The Saudi-led military coalition intervened against the Houthis the following year, conducting relentless airstrikes and a blockade of Yemen.
The conflict has killed over 100,000 people and created the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, leaving millions suffering from food and medical care shortages.
Both sides of the conflict have violated press freedoms, according to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists.