CPJ protests detention of media workers

Dear Ambassador Al-Hajjri:

The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by the continuing detention of two Yemeni media support staff members, Munif and Naif Damesh, who now have been held without charge for over a month.

We wrote to Minister of Interior Rashad Muhammad al-Alimi on April 21, requesting Yemeni officials make public the reason for their detention. We have not received a reply to that letter.

On April 3, Yemeni authorities detained fixer Munif Damesh and driver Naif Damesh, along with freelance reporters James Brandon and Shane Bauer, and fellow fixer Munaf Damesh. The five men were detained at an army checkpoint while leaving the northern Yemeni city of Saada, where they had been reporting on fighting between the Yemeni army and fighters loyal to rebel leader Badreddine al-Hawthi. They were then taken to the offices of Yemen’s Political Security Organization in the capital Sanaa.

Brandon and Bauer were released 12 hours later, and Munaf Damesh was released on April 24. However, Munif and Naif Damesh remain in detention without charge.

CPJ is deeply troubled that Yemeni officials continue to hold these men without explanation or due process of law. We believe Munif and Naif Damesh have been detained only because for their work as media support staff, and we call for their release at once.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter. We look forward to your reply.


Ann Cooper
Executive Director