Four detained journalists were on Saturday sentenced to death on charges of spying by a Yemeni court controlled by the country’s Iran-linked Houthi rebels, according to a rights advocate.
The court in the Houthi-controlled capital, Sana’a, also ordered the continued jailing of six other journalists on similar charges, said the Head of the Geneva-based rights group SAM, Tawfiq al-Humeidi.
al-Humeidi condemned the rulings, which are not final.
“They mark a very serious development against the press and journalists in Yemen. They continue the [Houthi] group’s policy of silencing opponents,” al-Humeidi said.
There was no comment from the Houthis, who have been locked in a devastating power struggle with Yemen’s Saudi-backed government for over five years.
The Houthis previously issued nearly 150 death sentences against dissidents convicted of spying for the “enemy,” according to al-Humeidi. None of those sentences has been carried out.
On Wednesday, the Saudi coalition announced a two-week ceasefire in Yemen to focus efforts on fighting the new coronavirus in the impoverished country.
The warring sides have since accused each other of breaching the truce.