Yemen: The Wasted Blood of Journalists
By: Khaled A. BaRahma
According to news reports, Yemeni Journalists Syndicate, and Gulf Center for Human Rights, a bomb planted in Saber al-Haidari's car exploded while he was driving in al-Mansoura district of the southern port city of Aden on June 15th, killing him at the scene. One other person who was traveling with alHaidari was injured and two others were killed in the explosion, according to the Gulf Center. According to those news reports, there was no immediate claim of responsibility.
By failing to speak out about press freedom in Yemen, the international community has contributed to journalists' killings, as Saber al-Haidari was killed in Aden this month. CPJ Middle East and North Africa Researcher Justin Shilad noted that all sides in the conflict must acknowledge that journalists should not be targeted and investigate any killings of journalists.
Reports say Al-Haidari has also worked for the Yemeni government's Ministry of Information's public relations department. A power-sharing agreement between Yemen's government and the Southern Transitional Council, which controls Aden, has been in place since late 2020. According to Mansour Saleh, a spokesperson for STC, al-Haidari's killing has been condemned and the council is currently investigating, as well as demanding the government to protect Yemeni journalists. Several journalists have been killed in Yemen, including Nabil al-Quaty outside his home in June 2020 by unidentified gunmen, and Rasha alHarazi, who was pregnant at the time, In November 2021.
“He is neither the first nor the last” were the Journalists’ opinions across the country. Yemen's law and order collapse has made it more difficult for journalists to access justice, increasing their risks. An independent body was created by the U.N. Human Rights Council to investigate human rights abuses that occurred in Yemen during the conflict, particularly attacks on journalists. However, that body's mandate ended in October 2021.
A coalition led by Saudi Arabia has been fighting an Iran-aligned Houthi group in Yemen for over seven years. Islamist military groups such as al-Qaida and Islamic State that have launched attacks in the past, including in the south, are among Yemen's many destabilizing forces.