Human rights organisations call for the release of journalists and woman human rights defender Fatima Saleh Al-Arwali
🟠 Human rights defender Fatima Saleh Al-Arwali was arrested at Al-Hawban checkpoint, based on an order for her arrest issued by the Security and Intelligence Service, since August 2022.#StandUp4HumanRights #Yemen #لِنَكتُب_من_أجل_الحقوقhttps://t.co/VK49gVXWKj— المركز الدولي للعدالة وحقوق الانسان (@ICJHR_ORG) January 12, 2023
On 10th January 2023, the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) called for the release of woman human rights defender Fatima Saleh Al-Arwali, head of Al-Habitat Organisation for Human Rights Development. Al-Arwali has been arbitrarily detained and prevented from contacting her family by the Yemeni Security and Intelligence Services since August 2022. On 14th August 2022, upon presentation of an arrest warrant issued by the Security and Intelligence Services, she was arrested at the Al-Hawban checkpoint while travelling from the capital, Sana’a, to the city of Aden. On 18th December 2022, prominent human rights lawyer Abdulmajeed Sabra requested that Al-Arwali be granted visitation rights and contact with her family. On 29th November 2022, Sabra requested that the Specialised Criminal Prosecution order the release of Al-Arwali due to the lack of a legal basis for her ongoing detention.
On 6th November 2022, GCHR reported that the Specialised Criminal Appeals Court (Division) in the capital, Sana’a, asked the Public Prosecution to order four journalists, Abdulkhaleq Ahmed Amran, Akram Saleh Al-Walidi, Al-Hareth Saleh Hamid and Tawfiq Mohammed Al-Mansouri, to appear in court on 4th December 2022. However, the hearing was subsequently adjourned until 22nd January 2023. Reliable local sources expressed fears that the reason for the adjournment was because the journalists have been tortured and the authorities are concerned that they would make an official complaint before the court. On 2nd December 2022, the families of the kidnapped journalists issued an appeal in which they confirmed that Al-Mansouri had been severely tortured over the course of 45 days inside the exchange house in Sana’a by the head of the Prisoner Exchange Committee, Abdulqadir Al-Murtada, and his brother. The statement further alleged that all four journalists were held incommunicado in isolated cells without access to medical care, blankets or sunlight.
On 24th December 2022, the Press and Publications Court in Sana’a ordered the Ministry of Information to issue a licensing certificate to Voice of Yemen Radio, to recommence its broadcasting service. It also ordered the Ministry of Information to pay 700,000 Riyals (approx. USD$2,800) in compensation for every month since it was forced to close until it recommences broadcasting. A group affiliated with the Houthis stormed the radio building on 25th January 2022, forcing it to stop broadcasting. It stormed the building once more on 11th July 2022 and confiscated its broadcasting equipment.
On 7th December 2022, 29-year-old journalist Younis Abdulsalam Ahmed Abdulrahman was released. He was arbitrarily arrested and detained since 4th August 2022, by the Houthi Security and Intelligence Service, which is run by the de facto government in Sana'a.
Also on 7th December 2022, the Specialised Criminal Court of First Instance in the city of Mukalla, the capital of Hadramout Governorate, acquitted journalist Hala Fouad Badawi of the charges against her. She was arrested on 30th December 2021 for writing about corruption, and later released on bail in April 2022. Local reports confirmed that she was tortured during her detention in the Military Intelligence prison, and before her transfer to the central prison in Mukalla on 4th January 2022.
On 7th December 2022, the Specialised Criminal Court of First Instance in Sana'a sentenced 16 citizens from the Governorate of Saada to death for "aiding the Saudi-Emirati aggression countries and communicating with them to harm the war, political and economic status of the Republic of Yemen." Seven other citizens were sentenced to 15 years in prison, and six others to 19 years on the same charges. The Houthi authorities have repeatedly used the death penalty against journalists and other citizens following sham trials on fabricated charges.