A Houthi fighter secures a rally in Sanaa, Yemen, on June 29, 2018. The Houthis have detained at least three more journalists since late June. (Reuters/Mohamed al-Sayaghi)
A Houthi fighter secures a rally in Sanaa, Yemen, on June 29, 2018. The Houthis have detained at least three more journalists since late June. (Reuters/Mohamed al-Sayaghi)

Houthis detain at least three more journalists in late June and early July

The Ansar Allah movement, commonly known as the Houthis, detained at least three current and former Yemeni journalists–Iyad al-Wasmani, Abdulsalam al-Doaiss, and Abed al-Jaradi–between June 27 and July 7, 2018, according to news reports and the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate.

Iyad al-Wasmani was detained alongside his brother Qissam by Houthi gunmen the evening of July 7, 2018, in the city of Dhamar, according to the independent newspaper Al-Masdar and the independent news website Watan Al-Adeniya. Al-Wasmani recently started his own Facebook news page, Huna Dhamar, but does not appear to have widely published on it before being detained. He is also a freelancer who has written for a number of Yemeni publications, and contributed reporting to the Sanaa TV channel on allegations of human rights abuses against children committed by the Houthis.Hu

On July 2, 2018, Houthi gunmen detained Abdulsalam al-Doaiss in the Yemeni capital Sanaa, according to the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate and the state-run Saba news agency. According to Saba, five Houthi gunmen in a Suzuki model car detained al-Doaiss from a relative’s house in the Shamlan neighborhood of Sanaa. The gunmen also confiscated al-Doaiss’ laptop and mobile phone, the agency added.

The agency reported that al-Doaiss had worked as Saba’s economic news editor until 2010. Nabil Alosaidi, co-chair of the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate, told CPJ that after working at Saba, al-Doaiss worked in former Yemeni Prime Minister Mohammed Salim Basindawa’s media office until the prime minister’s resignation in 2014 after the Houthis took control of Sanaa.

Abed al-Jaradi was abducted in Sanaa by forces from the National Security Bureau, also controlled by the Houthis, according to Alosaidi, posting on behalf of the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate, as well as Al-Masdar, which quoted local sources as saying al-Jaradi was detained on June 27, 2018. The privately owned TV channel Yemen Shabab quoted the management of the Sanaa-based soccer club Al-Wehda as saying that al-Jaradi was abducted in front of the club’s stadium.

According to the syndicate, al-Jaradi works as a media officer for Al-Wehda. Al-Jaradi previously wrote for the independent Akhbar Al-Youm newspaper for several years, with his last column dated April 19, 2014, detailing elections for the Yemeni Football Association and lamenting the state of the sport in the country.

Houthi authorities have not provided any reasons for the recent detentions, and a Houthi spokesperson did not immediately respond to an emailed request from the Committee to Protect Journalists for comment on the reasons for the detentions, where the journalists are being held, or their current health statuses.

As of December 2017, the Houthis were detaining at least 13 journalists, CPJ reported at the time. According to news reports, at least two journalists, Hussein al-Easi and Abdullah al-Munifi, were released in March 2018. The recent round of detentions began less than a month after journalist Anwar al-Rakan–who had been detained for more than a year by the Houthis–died two days after being released. The Houthis have not responded to repeated requests for comment from CPJ on the reasons for the detentions or on the journalists’ treatment in detention.