Egypt - Latest Press Releases

Yemen: Journalists suffer persecution for reporting on protests

Alkarama today submitted the cases of 7 journalists, including 2 women, who have suffered persecution because of their activities reporting on, and participating in, protests in Yemen to the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression. These journalists have been subjected to various type of harassment including being enforcedly disappeared, detained arbitrarily, arrested, and received death threats.

Mr. Abdel Ali Mohamed Abdel Mughni, 32, was filming clashes between security forces and demonstrators demanding the departure of the regime on 17 February 2011 when he was shot at by the security services. When the shots missed him, he was detained for a short period by the security services, beaten and had his camera confiscated.

Ms. Samia Al-Aghbari, 29, a journalist in Yemen, participated in a peaceful demonstration demanding the departure of the President on 13 February 2011. During the demonstration, the Central Security Forces attempted to abduct Ms Al-Aghbari. Fellow protesters interrupted the abduction, but Ms Al-Aghbari was still severely beaten with electric batons and ended up in hospital to her injuries.

Mr. Mohamed Mostafa Al Amrany, 30, received a number of death threats by phone, started on 5 March 2011. He had recently published an article giving the names of government officials involved in the repression in Yemen, followed the publication of an article in the newspaper about the situation in Yemen in which he gave the names of government officials involved in the repression. These threats continue to the present day.

Mr. Khalil Ali Ahmed Al-Barah, 30, went out on 11 February 2011 to cover a peaceful demonstration for the news website he edits. He was arrested, kept in a car belonging to the security services for some time and beaten and insulted. The agents also took his camera and deleted all the photos he had taken.

Mr. Mohammed Ahmad Al Mohammadi, a TV journalist aged 30, was abducted in the middle of the night of 16 April 2011 by officers from the Office of the Commander of the Republican Guard (overseen by the President's son). They offered him a new, well-paid job at another TV channel which supports the President, and requested that he also work for them as an informant, which he refused. In retaliation, the agents took his mobile phones and detained him in secret at the National Security Service Headquarters for five days. He was then released on 21 April 2011.

Ms. Tawakkol Abdusalam Khaled Karman, 32, was arrested at her home in the capital Sana'a on 23 January 2011 by the Yemeni security forces, presumably the police, at around midnight. This was witnessed by her husband. The agents refused to show her the supposed arrest warrant they had, or even to provide their official identification, although they did tell her that she was being arrested for organising unauthorized demonstrations. Following her arrest, she was taken to Sana'a Central Prison where she was interrogated for hours. Ms. Karman was finally released the next day. Before the illegal arrest, Ms. Karman had already received death threats beginning on 26 January 2011 through her brother, Tariq Karman who received a phone call from someone posing as President Ali Abdelalah Saleh. The caller told her brother that he should keep his sister at home. These threats continue to this day.

This is not the first time Ms. Karman has been subjected to such treatment. She had already received death threats in November 2007 for her work, which she had already complained about in the national media.

Mr. Firas Mohammed Shamsan, 25, was documenting the destruction caused by government forces in the area of Hasbah district of Sana'a on 26 May 2011 when a member of the Central Security Forces fired on him, just missing him.

These journalists have suffered persecution by the Yemen authorities in order to attempt to restrict their rights to freedom of opinion and expression and prevent them from reporting on human rights violations in Yemen.

This is contrary to Yemen's international human rights obligations: Yemen is party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which states that "everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice" (see article 19 of the Convention – add link to convention http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/ccpr.htm). The Human Rights Committee, responsible for monitoring implementation of the Convention has added that "States parties should put in place effective measures to protect against attacks aimed at silencing those exercising their right to freedom of expression....Nor, under any circumstance, can an attack on a person, because of the exercise of his or her freedom of opinion or expression, including such forms of attack as arbitrary arrest, torture, threats to life and killing, be compatible with article 19. Journalists are frequently subjected to such threats, intimidation and attacks because of their activities" (see General Comment No. 34, para. 23, adopted in July 2011 – link to http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrc/docs/GC34.pdf).

Alkarama therefore calls on the Yemeni authorities put an end to such acts, particularly to the death threats against Ms. Karman and Mr. Al Amrany; that journalists and human rights defenders be ensured the space to carry out their work freely; and that an investigation into these acts be undertaken.

Alkarama will continue to monitor the situation in Yemen, and will ensure the United Nations is kept informed of developments in the situation there, and particularly on the situation of the journalists named above.

Egypt - HR Instruments

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)

ICCPR: Ratified on 14.11.1989
Optional Protocol: No

State report: Overdue since 01.11.2004 (4th)
Last concluding observations: 28.11.2002

Convention against Torture (CAT)

CAT: Accessed on 25.06.1986
Optional Protocol: No
Art. 20 (Confidential inquiry): Yes
Art. 22 (Individual communications): No

State report: Due on 25.06.2016 (initially due in 2004)
Last concluding observations: 23.12.2002

International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance (CED)

No

Universal Periodic Review (UPR)

Last review: 02.2010 (1st cycle)
Next review: 2014 (2nd cycle)

National Human Rights Institution (NHRI)

National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) – Status A

Last review: 10.2006
Next review: Deferred