Yemeni Journalist sentenced to death in rebel-held Sana'a by Al Houthis
A Yemeni court in the rebel-held capital has sentenced a veteran journalist Yahia Al jubaihi to death on charges of spying for neighbouring Saudi Arabia, the press union and rebel media said on Thursday.
Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia has been leading an Arab coalition in fighting against the Iran-backed rebels and their allies in Yemen.
The Yemeni press union condemned the “arbitrary” sentence of 61-year-old Yahya Al Jubaihi, accusing the rebels of “targeting the freedom of the press.”
It said Al Jubaihi was a “veteran journalist with a long record of professional work across Yemen.”
He was seized from his home on September 6, it added.
The rebels and their allies — renegade troops loyal to ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh — have controlled all government institutions in Sana’a since they overran the capital in September 2014.
Rival bodies loyal to internationally-recognised president Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi operate out of second city Aden or from exile in Saudi Arabia.
The Aden-based information ministry said Al Jubaihi’s trial was a “farce” and accused rebels of looking to “settle political accounts ... through a politicised judiciary.”
Al Jubaihi wrote regular columns in Saudi dailies Okaz and Al Madina, as well as in Yemeni newspapers.
He served in the government’s press department in the 1990s and 2000s when Saleh was president and Hadi was his deputy.
Press watchdogs and human rights groups have been deeply critical of the rebels’ treatment of journalists as the conflict in the Arabian peninsula country has escalated over the past two years.
In December, journalist Mohammad Al Absi, 35, died suddenly after publishing reports about alleged corruption. His family and human rights groups said a post-mortem found he had been poisoned.
Eight reporters were killed in Yemen last year, according to the International Federation of Journalists.
That made the country the fourth deadliest for journalists after Iraq, Afghanistan and Mexico, the watchdog added.