Thursday, April 23, 2015

Yemen: Journalist, three staffers killed in airstrike targeting Yemen Today TV station


22 April 2015
International Press Institute 

This statement was originally published on on 22 April 2015.

The International Press Institute (IPI) today condemned an air strike by Saudi-led coalition forces on the offices of the Sana'a-based television station Yemen Today that left a journalist and three others dead, and which reports said specifically targeted the station.

The air strike came amid the Saudi-led coalition's four-week campaign against Houthi rebels who have seized Yemen's capital. Journalist and presenter Mohammed Shamsan was killed in the attack, as were two guards and an accountant working for the station, Yemen Today reported on its website.

IPI Director of Advocacy and Communications Steven M. Ellis said that the reports that the station was deliberately targeted were “disturbing” and he called on international and Saudi authorities to conduct an independent investigation.

“Targeting journalists and news outlets – regardless of their political affiliation or the opinions they express – is absolutely unacceptable and we remind all parties to conflicts that an attack on journalists who are not themselves combatants is a violation of international law,” he said. “We welcome the fact that the Saudi-led coalition has now called an end to such air strikes, but anyone responsible for targeting journalists must be held to account.”

Yemen Today said that the four men killed in the air strike died “while performing their duties” and it referred to the Saudi actions as “brutal aggression”.

The Yemen Times reported that Yemen Today's offices are in the same neighbourhood as the residence of the eldest son of former Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who is connected to the Houthi. Several media outlets said that the TV station politically supports the Houthi.

At least 40 people were killed and more were injured during Monday's air campaign in Sana'a, the Yemen Times reported.

Two other journalists have been killed in Yemen since the beginning of 2015.

Abdul Kareem al-Khaiwani, a prominent Yemeni journalist with ties to the Houthi, was killed on March 18 close to his home in Sana'a. Media quoted police sources as saying that al-Khaiwani was shot dead by assailants on a motorbike. He had served as a representative of the Houthi group in a national dialogue conference on the future of Yemen.

On Jan. 4, Khalid Mohammed al Washali, a correspondent at Yemeni TV channel Al-Masirah, also aligned with the Houthi, was killed with three others when a bomb exploded in Dhamar.