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Rights group: Journalists at risk in Yemen.

SANA'A, Sept. 30--The Gulf Center for Human Rights (GCHR) issued a statement on Monday condemning recent attacks by armed men on local journalists and calling on the state to protect press freedom in the capital.

"Individual journalists have been targeted. On September 19, the homes of presenter Mohamed Al Jama'i and journalist Ibrahim Al-Haidam who work with privately-owned Yemen Shabab TV were hit with shells. The TV station is now broadcasting old programs from a secret location, for fear of being attacked," the statement read.

The Yemen Times spoke to one of the journalists whose apartment was raided. Yussuf Al-Qadi, a journalist with Al-Masdar, said that armed Houthi men searched the entire building, including his flat.

Al-Qadi said that prior to the Houthis breaking in, the owner of the building called him to inform that armed men were trying to break into the flats inside the building.

"Thankfully, I knew a friend affiliated with the Houthi group who called the armed militias and calmed them down. When I arrived at the flat, there was evidence that they searched my living room and even the kitchen," Al-Qadi added.

According to the GCHR statement, the homes of former national television CEO Abdelghani Al-Shamiri and Moubarak Al-Achoual, who works for Al-Masdar, were also raided.

Hussein Al-Bukhaiti, a member of the Houthis' Political Office, said they do not attack houses without reason. "If we suspect any house or if we see people open fire at us from any building, we raid them," Al-Bukhaiti said.

Nabila Al-Mufti, a human rights lawyer and activist in Sana'a, told the Yemen Times that attacking journalists or any other press institutions is a gross violation of human rights. "Journalists are not military personnel to be targeted. The freedom of the press is guaranteed in all international laws and conventions," said Al-Mufti.

Such attacks will impact the quality of the journalists' work because they do not feel the presence of the state to protect them, she added.

Al-Qadi said the current volatile situation hampers journalists from doing their work properly. "This is bad, but journalists should strive to transparently convey what is going on in the country," he said.

On September 20, the Houthis gained control of the state TV headquarters, which houses three state-run channels, momentarily shutting them down. On September 22 , the Houthis raided an office of Suhail TV channel, which is affiliated with the Islah Party, also shutting it down and allegedly stealing equipment.

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Publication:Yemen Times (Sana'a, Yemen)
Geographic Code:7YEME
Date:Oct 2, 2014
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