Yemen: ‎Security authorities must ‎immediately release journalist Hala ‎Badawi

Yemen: ‎Security authorities must ‎immediately release journalist Hala ‎Badawi - Protection

The undersigned Yemeni and international ‎human rights organisations strongly condemn the Hadhramaut Province ‎security authorities’ ‎arbitrary arrest of journalist Hala Fouad ‎Badawi. She has been ‎imprisoned for more than a month. ‎

The organisations call for her immediate ‎release and for all charges ‎against her to be dropped. The security and other local ‎authorities behind this arrest are responsible for her physical and psychological ‎safety. 

Badawi, a young journalist active ‎on social media, was arrested on ‎30 December 2021 by a Military ‎intelligence-affiliated security unit. She ‎was imprisoned in the Military ‎Intelligence prison before being ‎transferred on 5 January to the Central ‎Prison in Hadhramaut. ‎

We denounce the arbitrary and illegal ‎measures taken to detain and ‎incarcerate Ms. Badawi. We condemn authorities’ pressure on the journalist ‎and her family. Press ‎sources and human rights organisations ‎in Yemen report that she was ‎attacked and forcibly removed from her ‎car near the Hadhramaut Military ‎Region Command and taken to the ‎Military Intelligence headquarters in ‎Hadhramaut, where she was held in secret for ‎two days. The Military Region Command denied that she was being detained there. On the ‎third day, the office of the Hadhramaut ‎governor issued a statement ‎acknowledging her detention in the ‎Military Intelligence prison and accusing ‎her of communicating with a foreign ‎country. On the fifth day, she was ‎transferred to the central prison in ‎Mukalla, the capital of Hadhramaut ‎Province. Her family was also ‎prevented from visiting her except for a single time. ‎Local security forces raided her family’s home in a forcible, intimidatory manner, and confiscated their mobile phones.   

Yemen must protect journalists and civil activists 

We fear the local ‎and security authorities in Hadhramaut ‎arrested Ms. Badawi over her posts ‎on social media criticising ‎corruption and demanding better living ‎conditions. We wish to draw the ‎attention of the State and central and ‎local institutions to their obligations to ‎protect journalists and civil activists, ‎including those opposed to government ‎policies and programmes. What Ms. ‎Badawi has been subjected to is a flagrant violation of her ‎right to freedom of opinion and ‎expression, which is guaranteed by the ‎Yemeni constitution and international ‎treaties and covenants to which Yemen ‎is bound. ‎

Badawi’s case ‎was not referred to the court until a full month after her arrest, ‎and the Criminal Prosecution has not ‎filed a case against her. Her family ‎was informed of her arrest after she was transferred ‎to the Central Prison. ‎

These practices constitute a ‎violation of Yemen’s international human rights ‎obligations. ‎For example, General Comment No. ‎‎34/2011 issued by the Human Rights ‎Committee warns of the intimidating ‎effects of arresting journalists who ‎perform their legitimate functions, and emphasises this has a detrimental impact on ‎freedom of expression. ‎

We call on the security authorities in ‎Hadhramaut to immediately release ‎the journalist Hala Badawi. The undersigned ‎organisations underscore the frequency ‎of violations committed against ‎journalists in Yemen which have ‎escalated dramatically during the years ‎of war, reaching more than 2,000 violations, including 50 ‎killings.1Media freedom observatory – Yemen( We call on all parties in the ‎conflict in Yemen to stop all ‎contraventions committed against ‎Yemeni journalists and media outlets. ‎We warn that the ‎authorities’ infringement in Hadhramaut against ‎anyone who disagrees with them is not ‎subject to a statute of limitations, and ‎we call for the perpetrators to be punished, ‎including people who order the ‎commission of these crimes, conspire, ‎help or cover up for them, as stated by ‎the Human Rights Council in its decision ‎number 45/18 dated 6 October 2020‎‏.‏

The signatories:

  1. ARTICLE 19
  2. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) 
  3. International Media Support (IMS)
  4. Justice &Peace Netherlands
  5. Free Press Unlimited
  6. Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
  7. Studies and Economic Media Center (SEMC)
  8. Yemeni Media Freedom Observatory (YMFO)
  9. The National Organization of Yemeni Journalists (Sada)
  10. SAM Organization for Rights and Freedoms
  11. Rights Radar for Human Rights
  12. Association of Abductees Mothers
  13. American Center for Justice (ACJ)
  14. YemenWomen Journalists Network
  15. TO BE Foundation For Rights &Freedoms 
  16. Cultural Media Center
  17. The Electronic Foundation for Humanitarian Media
  18. Dameer Foundation For Human Rights
  19. Mansa Foundation for Media And Development Studies
  20. Media Sac Foundation for Media and
  21. Media village for development and Information
  22. Mirrors Media For Development Center MDC 
  23. Qarar foundation for Media and Development
  24. Yeni Yemen Media Foundation
  25. Humanitarian Journalism Foundation
  26. True Human Rights institution
  27. Democratic Media Foundation
  28. Wujud Foundation for Human Security
  29. Qarar foundation for Media and Development
  30. Musawah Organization For Rights and Freedoms
  31. Monitoring Journalist Network
  32. Adalah Foundation for Legal Development
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    Media freedom observatory – Yemen(