Houthi court sentences veteran journalist to death over ‘Saudi link’

A court in Yemen’s Houthi-controlled capital Sanaa has sentenced a veteran journalist to death for spying for Saudi Arabia, Houthi media and a journalists’ association have reported.

Yahya Abdulraqeeb Al-Jubaihi, a veteran journalist, was accused by court of establishing contacts with the Saudi Embassy in Sanaa and sending it reports that endangered Yemen at the military, economic and political levels, the Houthi-controlled Saba news agency reported.

Saba said Al-Jubaihi, who was arrested on Sept. 2016, had received SR4,500 ($1,200) a month for his services since 2010. The decision by the State Security court in the capital Sanaa was reported late Wednesday by Saba and by the Yemen Journalists’ Syndicate (YJS), a body that represents journalists.

“YJS strongly condemns this unconstitutional and extralegal sentence that … brought Yemen back to a totalitarian and despotic era, and caused terror and fear among journalists,” the organization said in a statement sent to Reuters.

Yemen is ranked 170th out of 180 countries in the 2016 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.

The group called for the release of 10 other journalists held by the Houthis for almost two years.

Meanwhile, over 20 inmates escaped from a prison in Yemen’s southern city of Aden on Thursday after gunmen demanding the release of detainees imprisoned without trial blocked roads and clashed with security forces.

The officials said one person was killed and four police conscripts were wounded in the violence.