Sabri bin Mukhashin, who works for various Yemeni media, was arrested in Mukalla, the provincial capital, on 3 December without being notified of any charges and without any order from the local prosecutor’s office. In a Facebook post three days before his arrest, he criticized the provincial governor’s online surveillance and censorship.
“We are extremely concerned and call for Sabri bin Mukhashin’s immediate release,” said Sophie Anmuth, the head of RSF’s Middle East desk. “ We point out that the Hadramaout authorities are directly responsible for this journalist’s fate and that holding a person without charge directly contravenes national and international law.”
When reached by RSF, the head of the intelligence unit that arrested Mukhashin acknowledged that he was being held but denied he was imprisoned and was unable to say on what grounds. A military source quoted by a Yemeni media said that the state security was actually the body which detained the journalist and criticised the media treatment of the case.
The Yemeni Journalists Syndicate, which reports an increase in harassment of the media, said Mukhashin suffers from diabetes and is in poor health. Relatives and fellow journalists demonstrated outside the prosecutor’s office in Mukalla today, calling for his release.
This is at least the second time this year that military intelligence in Hadramout has detained a journalist arbitrarily. Awad Kashmim, the editor of the pro-government newspaper 30 November, was held for a month after being arrested in late February.
Although Hadramout is theoretically under the authority of the Yemeni government, the United Arab Emirates currently exercises a great deal of influence in the province and is often blamed for abuses by the local military or militias. The UAE is part of the Saudi-led Arab coalition that was formed in 2015 to back the government forces in Yemen’s civil war.
Yemen is ranked 166th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2018 World Press Freedom Index.