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(www.marsadak.org) 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.
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- Reporters Without Borders (RSF)
- International Media Support (IMS)
- Justice &Peace Netherlands
- Free Press Unlimited
- Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
- Studies and Economic Media Center (SEMC)
- Yemeni Media Freedom Observatory (YMFO)
- The National Organization of Yemeni Journalists (Sada)
- SAM Organization for Rights and Freedoms
- Rights Radar for Human Rights
- Association of Abductees Mothers
- American Center for Justice (ACJ)
- YemenWomen Journalists Network
- TO BE Foundation For Rights &Freedoms
- Cultural Media Center
- The Electronic Foundation for Humanitarian Media
- Dameer Foundation For Human Rights
- Mansa Foundation for Media And Development Studies
- Media Sac Foundation for Media and
- Media village for development and Information
- Mirrors Media For Development Center MDC
- Qarar foundation for Media and Development
- Yeni Yemen Media Foundation
- Humanitarian Journalism Foundation
- True Human Rights institution
- Democratic Media Foundation
- Wujud Foundation for Human Security
- Qarar foundation for Media and Development
- Musawah Organization For Rights and Freedoms
- Monitoring Journalist Network
- Adalah Foundation for Legal Development
- 1Media freedom observatory – Yemen(www.marsadak.org)