Yemen: ‎Immediately release journalist Hala ‎Badawi

In Arab Countries, International Advocacy Program by CIHRS

The undersigned Yemeni, international and regional ‎human rights organizations condemn the ‎arbitrary arrest of  journalist Hala Fouad ‎Badawi by the  security authorities of Hadhramaut Governate in Yemen. The governorate is under the control of the internationally recognized government of President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi and Governor Faraj al-Bahsani. She has been ‎imprisoned for more than a month. ‎

The organizations call for Hala Badawi’s immediate ‎release and the dropping of all charges ‎against her. The security and other local ‎authorities behind  her arrest are responsible for her physical and psychological ‎safety. Hala, a young journalist active ‎on social media, was detained on 30 ‎December 2021 by a military ‎intelligence affiliated security unit. She ‎was jailed in the Military ‎Intelligence prison before being ‎transferred to the Central ‎Prison in Hadhramaut on 5 January. ‎

We, the undersigned, denounce the arbitrary and illegal ‎measures taken to detain and ‎incarcerate Hala Badawi. We further denounce all the forms of violence and intimidation exercised against the journalist and her family. Press ‎sources and human rights organizations ‎in Yemen report that Badawi was ‎attacked and forcibly removed from her ‎car near the Hadhramaut Military ‎Regional Command. She was taken to the ‎Military Intelligence headquarters in ‎Hadhramaut, where she was held in an undisclosed location for ‎two days. The Military Regional Command denied that she was being detained there. On the ‎third day, the office of the Hadhramaut ‎governor Faraj al-Bahsani issued a statement ‎acknowledging her detention in the ‎Military Intelligence prison and accusing ‎her of communicating with a foreign ‎country. On the fifth day, Hala was ‎transferred to the Central Prison in ‎Mukalla, the capital of Hadhramaut ‎ Governate. Her family has been prevented from visiting her during her detainment with one exception. Local security forces also raided her family’s home in a forcible, intimidatory manner, confiscating their mobile phones.

We fear that the local ‎and security authorities in Hadhramaut ‎have arrested Hala Badawi over her posts ‎on social media criticizing ‎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 practices. What Hala Badawi has been subjected to constitutes a flagrant violation of her ‎right to freedom of opinion and ‎expression, which is guaranteed by Yemen’s constitution and the international ‎treaties and covenants which Yemen ‎is bound. ‎

Although it has been a month since her arrest, Hala Badawi’s case ‎has not yet been referred to the court. The Criminal Prosecution has not ‎filed a case against her, as her family ‎was informed after she was transferred ‎to the Central Prison. ‎

These practices constitute a ‎violation of Yemen’s international human rights ‎obligations. ‎ General Comment No. ‎‎34/2011 issued by the Human Rights ‎Committee warns  that arresting journalists who are ‎performing their legitimate functions on ‎freedom of expression constitutes intimidation. ‎

We, the undersigned human rights organizations, call on the security authorities in ‎Hadhramaut to immediately release ‎journalist Hala Badawi. We underscore the frequency ‎of violations committed against ‎journalists in Yemen; these violations have surged during the years ‎of war with over 2,000 documented, including fifty ‎murders[1]. We call on all parties to the ‎conflict in Yemen to cease their perpetration of crimes and violations against ‎Yemeni journalists and media outlets. ‎We warn that the infringement of fundamental rights by the ‎authorities in the Hadhramaut Governorate against ‎any person who disagrees with them is not ‎subject to a statute of limitations. ‎We call for the perpetrators to be punished, ‎including those who ordered the ‎commission of these crimes, or who conspired, abetted, or covered up for them, as stated by ‎the Human Rights Council in its decision ‎number 45/18 dated 6 October 2020‎‏.‏

  1. Adalah Foundation for Legal Development
  2. American Center for Justice (ACJ)
  3. Article19
  4. Association of Abductees Mothers
  5. Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
  6. Cultural Media Center
  7. Dameer Foundation For Human Rights
  8. Democratic Media Foundation
  9. Free Press Unlimited
  10. Humanitarian Journalism Foundation
  11. International Media Support (IMS)
  12. Justice &Peace Netherlands
  13. Mansa Foundation for Media And Development Studies
  14. Media Sac Foundation for Media and
  15. Media village for development and Information
  16. Mirrors Media For Development Center MDC
  17. Monitoring Journalist Network
  18. Musawah Organization For Rights and Freedoms
  19. Qarar foundation for Media and Development
  20. Reporters Without Borders (RSF)
  21. Rights Radar for Human Rights
  22. SAM Organization for Rights and Freedoms
  23. Studies and Economic Media Center (SEMC)
  24. The Electronic Foundation for Humanitarian Media
  25. The National Organization of Yemeni Journalists (Sada)
  26. TO BE Foundation For Rights &Freedoms
  27. True Human Rights institution
  28. Wujud Foundation for Human Security
  29. Yeni Yemen Media Foundation
  30. Yemeni Media Freedom Observatory (YMFO)
  31. YemenWomen Journalists Network

[1] Media freedom observatory – Yemen( )

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