Journalist Ali Abdullah left the Yemeni capital Sana’a towards Aden to escape the harassment he was subjected to in the capital, but he did not escape the whips of hostility to the press in his new residence.
Ali expected that he would be safe after he left the Houthi-controlled areas, but he found himself surrounded by great dangers in the city of Aden, which is controlled by the STC forces.
Ali and dozens of journalists fleeing the Houthi-controlled areas were facing regional charges, such as belonging to the region or working for the Houthi group, and sometimes for the Islah party.
Ali tells Al-Jazeera Net that he was arrested at the beginning of last year on charges of espionage against the Transitional Council, and that he was assaulted and tortured, and no one knew his whereabouts until days later, and before his release, he committed in writing not to publish the violations he was subjected to.
He explains that the soldiers dealt with him and two of his colleagues with hostility, and used to hit them all over the body, using sticks, as well as kicking and punching them.
Silence versus safety
Ali is not the only one who has been subjected to violations in Aden without declaring them for fear that he will be punished. There are many cases that have been subjected to violations and prefer silence to avoid risks and harm.
The capital, Sanaa, was not much better than Aden, for the city that the anti-Houthi journalists left, closed the various media outlets, and sent dozens of its journalists in prison, which remains one of the most dangerous environments for journalism, according to followers.
The story of the journalist Tawfiq Al-Mansouri exemplifies the brutality that the press was subjected to there. Al-Mansouri, who has been detained in the Intelligence Prison in Sana’a since June 2015, is facing today and 3 of his colleagues (Abdel-Khaleq Omran, Akram Al-Walidi, and Harith Hamid) a death sentence for their journalistic work. Journalists are unfairly judged.
Al-Mansouri’s family says that Tawfiq suffers from asthma, heart rheumatism, diabetes and prostate diseases, and recently symptoms of kidney failure appeared and he does not receive health care.
6 years of pain, Wadah Al-Mansouri, Tawfiq’s brother, summarizes the pain of the loss that accompanied the death of their father, before seeing his son free from a stroke after suffering the suffering of follow-up and his heart had not strengthened the news of his son being tortured and the news of a court ruling of his execution.
Waddah tells Al-Jazeera Net that his mother is living in a difficult health condition, and that the issue of Tawfiq remains her main concern. No occasion or day passes without her confusing her questions about the date of his release, and what efforts will they make for that.
His wife and three children (Tawakkol 11 years old, Thaer 9 years old, and Nouran 6 years old) are still waiting for Tawfiq to return to see him and watch their school results, follow up with them their lessons and immerse them in the tenderness of the father.
Waddah evaded the questions of his mother and his brother’s children after she carried out all his tricks in reassuring them that he would be released.
Tawfiq’s family was forced to move to Marib 3 years ago after their father was persecuted in Sana’a, and Tawfiq was attacked in front of him during his visit in the Political Security prison.
112 violations in 2020
To shed light on the situation of press freedoms in Yemen in terms of numbers, it was subjected to 112 cases of violations during the year 2020, according to a recent report of the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate.
The Syndicate said in its annual report released today, Tuesday, that the internationally recognized legitimate government committed 50 violations, accounting for 44.6% of the total violations, and the Houthi group 33 cases, or 29.5%, while unknown persons committed 13 cases, or 11.6%.
The Southern Transitional Council committed 12 cases, 10.7%, 3 cases were attributed to a private media outlet, 2.7%, and one case was committed by a faction in the resistance at 0.9%.
The violations varied between kidnappings and arrests (33 cases), followed by threats and incitement against journalists (22 cases), prevention and confiscation (13 cases), followed by trials and investigations (10 cases), suspension from work (10 cases), and torture (7 cases). , 6 cases of assaults, and 3 cases of murder.
According to the report, there are still 13 journalists kidnapped, including 11 journalists with the Houthi group, some of whom were arrested more than 5 years ago, and a journalist for Al Qaeda, and a photojournalist for the military authorities in Hadramout.
An unprecedented massacre
Nabil Al-Asidi, a member of the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate Council, says that press freedoms have been subjected to a heinous massacre since the outbreak of the war, unparalleled for many decades.
Al-Asidi explained to Al-Jazeera Net that there have been nearly 1,400 violations of media freedoms since the beginning of the war, including the killing of 45 journalists, including colleagues who placed human shields in the places where air strikes occurred.
He believes that each party practices violations to varying degrees against journalists and unexpressed media, as happened in Aden with the raid and burning of Akhbar Al-Youm newspaper.
Al-Asidi condemns this deal through which each party wants to turn journalists into expressive mouthpieces without respecting press freedoms, taking advantage of the state of impunity, and relying on any settlement that will come to erase violations against journalists and civilians.
To clarify the dangerous environment for the press, Al-Asadi refers to the displacement of nearly 700 journalists from the Houthi-controlled areas, while the rest of the areas are witnessing a similar exodus of journalists classified by the various authorities as opponents.
Regarding the role of the Syndicate of Journalists in facing these violations, Al-Assidi says that its current role is limited to monitoring and documenting violations and conveying the suffering of journalists to international organizations and the world.
He points out that the Syndicate itself has not been spared from violations, as its members have been subjected to persecution, threats and displacement between inside and outside the country, not to mention the closure of its headquarters in Sana’a and the seizure of its headquarters in Aden for a period of time and the closure of the rest of the branches in the governorates.