Exposed: How Houthi militias are killing off Yemen media

A Houthi militant takes part in a parade in Sanaa, Yemen, in this December 19, 2017 photo. (REUTERS)
Updated 26 December 2017
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Exposed: How Houthi militias are killing off Yemen media

ADEN: Iran-backed Houthi militias were accused on Monday of an unprecedented campaign of violence, intimidation, abduction and murder aimed at journalists and the media in Yemen.
At least 26 journalists have been killed since the Houthi coup in 2014, said Women Journalists Without Chains, a civil rights group in Yemen.
The Houthis are also guilty of attempted murder, abduction, torture, threats, assaults, looting of property, the abduction of relatives, the use of journalists as human shields, closing newspapers and TV channels and blocking websites, the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate said.
Eighteen journalists are still in Houthi custody, and denied their right to medical treatment, the syndicate said. They include nine journalists arrested while working in Sanaa in June 2016, who remain detained. They are being tortured, their families are not permitted to visit them, and they are not allowed medical treatment. Yemen’s Minister of Information, Moammar Al-Eryani, said that before the Houthi coup Yemen had 17 daily newspapers, 155 weeklies, 26 monthlies, and other publications. There were also four official TV channels and 15 private ones. By 2015 there were only 15 newspapers and two official TV channels, the minister said.
A UN report in August said the Houthis had carried out a campaign of intimidation, arbitrary detention, forced disappearance and murder against activists, journalists and members of civil society. They had shut down 21 websites and seven TV channels, banned the publication of 18 newspapers, raided buildings and attacked 52 civil society and human rights organizations, the UN said.
The Houthis targeted all media institutions and their staff, and confiscated their equipment, and the legitimate government and its supporters no longer had any influence in areas controlled by the militias.
In March 2016, photographer Mohammed Al-Yamani was shot dead and four of his colleagues were wounded when Houthi snipers opened fire on journalists covering the fighting in Taiz.


US-backed Syria rebels seize Captagon in IS drug bust: coalition

Updated 3 min 43 sec ago
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US-backed Syria rebels seize Captagon in IS drug bust: coalition

BEIRUT: Syrian rebels backed by the US-led coalition have seized a massive drug stash worth around $1.4 million during operations against the Daesh group, the alliance said Monday.
Maghawir Al-Thawra, a rebel faction trained by both the United States and Jordan, captured and destroyed the narcotics on May 31 in southeast Syria, the coalition said in a statement.
The drugs were estimated to have a black market value of around $1.4 million (1.2 million euros).
“The cache included more than 300,000 pills of Captagon, an illegal drug frequently trafficked and used by Daesh members,” it said, using the Arabic acronym for IS.
They were seized during Maghawir Al-Thawra’s operations surrounding the Al-Tanf base, which lies along Syria’s border with Jordan.
Captagon is classified by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime as an “amphetamine-type stimulant” and usually blends amphetamines, caffeine and other substances.
It is often referred to as the “jihadist” drug, as fighters who take it say it helps them stay awake for days and that it numbs their senses, allowing them to kill with abandon.
For at least two years, British and US commandos have been training and advising rebels fighting IS from Al-Tanf.
A 55-kilometer (34 mile) de-confliction zone around the garrison is meant to serve as a buffer between US-backed forces and fighters loyal to Syria’s regime.
The US-led coalition said the seizure of the drugs happened within the zone.
Maghawir Al-Thawra announced the drug bust last week in a dramatic video published on its Facebook page.
It included stills of dozens of plastic bags filled with yellow and white pills, which were later shown being set on fire.