New York, August 24, 2017–The Committee to Protect Journalists today called for the immediate release of freelance journalist Abdel-Raheem Mohsin who was abducted on August 22 in southwestern Yemen near the city of Taiz.
Mohsin had been covering the two-year long civil war between Houthi rebels and government forces in his native Yemen. A critic of both sides in the country’s conflict, Mohsin regularly contributed to a range of media outlets.
“Journalists covering Yemen’s conflict and humanitarian situation are playing a more critical role than ever, yet regularly find themselves targeted for the work they do,” CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour said. “The party responsible for Abdel-Raheem Mohsin’s detention should release him immediately, and all sides to Yemen’s conflict must ensure that journalists can work freely and safely.”
Mohsin’s family said gunmen in civilian clothes first searched the journalist at a checkpoint in the Al-Rahida district before taking the journalist to an unknown location, according to the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate and news reports. The family also said gunmen searched Mohsin’s home in the al-Silo district south of Taiz.
In a tweet, Yemeni Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdul Malik al-Mekhlafi blamed the Houthi rebel movement for Mohsin’s abduction, saying that the kidnapping was one of many crimes the militia had committed against journalists.
CPJ could not determine whether the gunmen were affiliated with the Houthi rebels. Armed groups linked to the Houthis have been responsible for similar kidnappings in the past, according to CPJ research.
Two journalists were killed and two more injured in May when covering fighting in the Taiz region, which has become a flashpoint between government and rebel forces, according to a CPJ report from that time.
The broader breakdown of state institutions in Yemen has greatly has imperiled the country’s few remaining independent journalists.