Tarmoom talks about Houthi torture prisons for journalists: The pen is the enemy

English - منذ 9 يوم و 18 ساعة و 21 دقيقة
Aden, NewsYemen, Exclusive:

In conjunction with the Yemeni Press Day, which Yemeni journalists celebrate annually on June 9, the Houthi coup group in Sana’a continues to refrain from releasing the rest of the kidnapped journalists.

Activists launched a hashtag on World Press Day, #Freedom_for_the kidnapped_journalists, in which they said: June 9 is the Yemeni Press Day, here it comes and the situation of Yemeni journalists is in the worst condition. 

Since the beginning of the war, there have been approximately forty journalist martyrs and twenty abductees, some of whom have been sentenced to death by the Houthis, while journalists have made huge sacrifices as a result of their work and pay a heavy price in the conflicts.

June 9 marks the 6th anniversary of the kidnapped journalist Abdul-Khaleq Omran and 9 colleagues by the Houthi coup militia in Sana'a, 5 of whom were released in an exchange deal, and Abdul-Khaleq and 3 others are still behind bars and sentenced to death.

The released journalist, Hisham Tarmoom, tweeted: On this day, June 8, 2016, I underwent the second investigation session in the Political Security prison, and I was on a hunger strike, about to perish and die, as I had previously undergone the first session on the date of June 4 in the same prison, where I fell to the ground and they brought me back to the cell while I was unconscious.

He added, "We used to hear from Houthi prison supervisors that their leadership recommends that they tighten procedures on journalists, because they are the most dangerous category for them."

In a proven tweet, Tarmoom wrote: "The Houthi militia kidnapped me  and my colleagues because we are journalists. During the years of kidnapping, I knew the extent of the group's hostility to journalists.

He added, the group’s members always told us that their leadership warns against journalists and describes them as dangerous, and we always heard from them: “The pen is more dangerous than the sword.” The journalist is the first enemy for the Houthis.

The BBC News Arabic website had met earlier in Cairo with four of the six journalists: Hisham Al-Yousifi, Haitham Al-Shehab, Hisham Tarmoom and Essam Balghith.

Balghith said that during their imprisonment they moved between six prisons, the worst of which, they said, was the Political Security prison or what is now known as the Security and Intelligence Agency.

"We were subjected to ill-treatment in all of those prisons, and we were subjected to torture, deprivation of food, and the illusion of physical liquidation," he stressed.

Balghith added, "The aim of our arrest and trial was to send a threatening message to suppress journalists and prevent them from carrying out their duties. We heard that there was a list of wanted by the Houthis, which included about 100 journalists, most of whom fled abroad."

The kidnapped journalists, in the prisons of the Houthi terrorist militia, are subjected to harsh treatment and psychological and physical torture, and the militias prevented them from visiting their families. 

The militias tried several times to obtain false confessions from them under torture and submit them to mock trials on trumped-up charges. 

They were also transferred between more than one prison, most of which suffer deplorable conditions and do not meet the minimum humane standards of detention.

The Houthi militia, as part of the campaign of repression and kidnappings carried out by the group against the press and journalists after its coup against the legitimate authorities and the invasion of Sana’a at the end of 2014, kidnapped nine journalists while doing their usual journalistic work from a Sanaa hotel on June 9, 2015 and imprisoned them in its prisons, in addition to two of their colleagues, bringing the total to eleven journalists kidnapped in the militia prisons of the Political Security in Sanaa.