Yemen’s Houthis detain journalist and five activists

Nabil al-Sharabi was detained, along with five activists, in a dawn raid in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa.

Yemen''s President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi sits during a meeting with government officials in the country''s southern port city of Aden
The Yemeni Journalists Syndicate said Houthi rebels are holding 12 other journalists, accusing them of supporting Hadi's government [Reuters]

Gunmen from Yemen’s Houthi rebel group detained a local journalist and five activists after a raid on an apartment in the capital Sanaa on Saturday, activists said, the latest detention of a reporter in the country.

The gunmen stormed the apartment at dawn and took journalist Nabil al-Sharabi and the activists to an unknown location. The rebel fighters fired their guns when the men attempted to escape, activists said.

Sharabi, the detained journalist, had worked for local daily Akhbar al-Youm, which the armed group closed down after taking control of Sanaa in 2014.

The Yemeni Journalists Syndicate said Houthi rebels have been holding 12 other journalists for several months after accusing them of acting against the movement and of supporting President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government.

Representatives of the Iran-allied Houthi group were not immediately reachable for comment.

Last week, unidentified gunmen abducted and later released two journalists and a driver working for Al Jazeera’s Arabic TV channel in the southwestern city of Taiz.

Press freedom ranking

Yemen is ranked 168th out of 180 countries in the 2015 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index. The group said last week that at least 17 journalists and media workers were being held hostage in Yemen by armed groups, including the Houthis.

Human Rights Watch said the rebels have detained numerous political opposition figures, activists, and journalists.

Fighters loyal to Hadi are battling the rebel group and loyalists of the country’s former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, in a war that has killed about 6,000 people.

Hadi fled Sanaa in 2015, after Houthi fighters – a Yemeni armed group that hails from the Zaidi branch of Shia Islam – seized his presidential palace.

Hadi has managed to re-base in Aden, Yemen’s second-largest city, where his government is trying to project authority after it seized it back from Houthi forces in July.

Source: News Agencies