A Yemeni court in the rebel-held capital Sanaa has sentenced a veteran journalist to death on charges of spying for neighboring Saudi Arabia, the press union and rebel media said Thursday.
Yahya al-Jubaihi, 61 was seized from his home on 6 September 2016.He was convicted of establishing "contact with a foreign state" and providing Saudi diplomats in Sanaa with "reports that posed harm to Yemen militarily, politically and economically," the Controlled Saba news agency reported.
Prosecutors alleged that Jubaihi, originally from Taiz, had been receiving a monthly salary of 4,500 Saudi riyals ($1,200) from Riyadh since 2010, four years before the rebels took over the capital, Saba added.
The Yemeni press union condemned the "arbitrary" sentence, accusing the rebels of "targeting the freedom of the press". It said Jubaihi was a "veteran journalist with a long record of professional work across Yemen".
Jubaihi wrote regular columns in Saudi newspapers Okaz and al-Madina, as well as in Yemeni newspapers. He served at the government's press department in the 1990s and 2000s when Saleh was president and Hadi was his deputy.
The Aden-based information ministry said Jubaihi's trial was a "farce" and accused the rebels of looking to "settle political accounts... through a politicized judiciary." Press watchdogs and human rights groups have been deeply critical of the rebels' treatment of journalists as the conflict in the Arabian peninsula country has escalated over the past two years.
It is worth mentioning that eight reporters were killed in Yemen last year, according to the International Federation of Journalists. That made the country the fourth deadliest for journalists after Iraq, Afghanistan and Mexico, the watchdog added.