New York, June 3, 2020 — Yemeni authorities should conduct a thorough investigation into the killing of journalist Nabil Hasan al-Quaety and hold the perpetrators to account, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Yesterday morning, a group of men in military uniforms attempted to hit al-Quaety with their car as he exited his home in the Dar Saad neighborhood in the southern port city of Aden, according to Nabil Alosaidi, co-chair of the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate, a local media advocacy organization, who spoke to CPJ via messaging app.
Al-Quaety ran but the men opened fire, shooting him in the head, chest, and hand, Alosaidi told CPJ. The journalist died on the way to a local hospital, he said.
Al-Quaety worked as a freelance reporter, videographer, and photographer, and since 2015 had worked with French public broadcaster Agence France-Presse, according to a report by the broadcaster. The report said the assailants fled the scene after the attack.
Alosaidi told CPJ that he was unaware of any recent threats against al-Quaety.
“The brazen killing of Nabil al-Quaety is an outrage. Authorities in Aden must conduct a serious and thorough investigation into the attack, and determine whether it was related to his journalism,” said CPJ Senior Middle East and North Africa Researcher Justin Shilad. “Authorities must bring al-Quaety’s killers to justice, and all parties to Yemen’s conflict must stop targeting journalists.”
The city of Aden is currently under the effective control of the Southern Transitional Council, which turned on the internationally recognized Yemeni government and seized the city in August 2019, according to news reports. The government’s Ministry of Information and the ruling al-Islah Party have issued statements condemning the killing, and Mansour Saleh, vice president of the Southern Transitional Council’s media department, condemned the killing in a conversation with CPJ via messaging app.
Saleh said that the transitional council will investigate the killing, a statement which Abdulbaset al-Qaedy, a spokesperson for the internationally recognized Yemeni government, and Adnan al-Adini, a spokesman for the al-Islah party, both disputed in messages to CPJ.
Al-Qaedy said only the government, not the transitional council, had the right to investigate al-Quaety’s killing; al-Adini told CPJ he wanted an international investigation into the incident.
Saleh said that al–Quaety had recently embedded with Southern Transitional Council forces as a photographer during clashes with Yemeni government forces and forces affiliated with the al-Islah Party in Abyan governorate. He speculated that forces affiliated with the government or the party may have been responsible for the journalist’s death.
Al-Quaety’s photos were featured in recent AFP reporting on the surge of COVID-19 related deaths in Aden and on clashes between the Southern Transitional Council and government forces; they were published under the name Nabil Hasan, which he often used for work.
According to a statement from the journalists’ syndicate, which CPJ reviewed, al-Quaety began working as a journalist for the Yemeni newspaper al-Ayyam in 2007. The Yemeni publication al-Masdar reported that he had previously worked for the Saudi broadcaster al-Arabiya, and he also uploaded videos to social media sympathetic to the Southern Transitional Council and its allied forces.
Journalists in Aden have been attacked by government forces, militias, terrorist groups, and foreign governments, as CPJ has documented. At least 17 journalists have been killed in Yemen since 2014, according to CPJ research.