Newspaper editor held incommunicado in eastern Yemen

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls for the immediate release of Awad Kashmim, a newspaper editor who was arrested illegally a week ago in Mukalla, the capital of the eastern province of Hadramout, and has been held incommunicado ever since.

The editor of the pro-government newspaper 30 November, Kashmim was arrested by security officials on the orders of Hadramout’s governor on 21 February.

Shortly before his arrest, he posted a Facebook status update in the form of an editorial that was very critical of the military operations that are being conducted to the west of Mukalla against Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

The authorities are refusing to admit they are holding him, said Nabeel Al Osaidi, the co-president of the Yemeni Journalists’ Syndicate, which therefore regards him as “missing.” Voicing concern on Twitter, opposition journalist Saeed Thabit Saeed said he suspected Kashmim was being held by military intelligence and had been interrogated and tortured.

“We are extremely concerned about Awad Kashmim and call for this journalist’s immediate release,” RSF said. “We remind Hadramout’s authorities that they are directly responsible for his fate and that it is flagrant violation of national and international law to hold a person incommunicado without any charge.”

Abdel Wahab Nomran, a reporter for the Yemen al Youm daily newspaper, was detained arbitrarily in similar conditions last month in Ma’rib, a city 120 km east of the Houthi rebel-held capital, Sanaa.

Nomran was arrested after covering a meeting of supporters of Ali Abdallah Saleh, the former president who was murdered in December. Government forces held him incommunicado for a week while denying that he was in their custody. After being freed, Nomran said he had been tortured.

Human rights violations by the Yemeni government’s military and militias are often blamed on the United Arab Emirates, which is backing the government as part of the Saudi-led Arab coalition that has been intervening in Yemen’s civil war on the government’s side since 2015.

Yemen is ranked 166th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2017 World Press Freedom Index.

Published on
Updated on 01.03.2018