After paying financial guarantees demanded by Houthi prosecutors to release of five journalists, the families learned that the Houthis sought to include the reporters in prisoner exchange deals
Mothers of abductees: Houthis extorted families of detained journalists based on false promises
The Association of Mothers of Abductees has gathered testimony from the families of imprisoned journalists accusing the Houthis of financial extortion.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the mothers association said Houthi authorities in Sana'a demanded financial guarantees from the families of five journalists who were authorized for release in April, but have remained incarcerated.
After paying sums of up to 400,000 Yemeni riyals (about $675*), the families learned that the Houthis sought to include the journalists in prisoner exchange deals with the internationally recognized government.
The association condemned the Houthis’ ongoing detention of nine journalists who have been subjected to sham trials and unlawful actions, including death sentences for four of them, for approximately five years. The mothers group appealed to human rights organizations to seek the release of all of the detained journalists out of fear for their lives amid the coronavirus outbreak in Sana’a.
On April 11, the Houthi-run Specialized Criminal Court in Sana’a issued death sentences for four of the journalists: Abdulkhaliq Omran, Akram Al-Walidi, Harth Hamid and Tawfiq Al-Mansouri.
The remaining six reporters were ordered to be released after five years of time served. Only one of them, Salah Al-Qaedi, has since been released. Hisham Tarmum, Issam Belghaith, Hisham Al-Yousfi, Haitham al-Shihab and Hassan Anaab are still in Houthi prisons.
*Currency calculation based on a conversion rate of 600 Yemeni riyals per $1 in Sana’a.
Edited by Casey Coombs