In march of 2019, the Reports without Borders organisation published an article detailing how 10 Yemeni journalists now face possible execution, for what the RSF describes as “allegedly collaborating with Saudi and UAE-led enemy forces.”.
Under Yemeni legislation since its modern establishment in 1990, collaborating with a state enemy can unleash the death penalty, to which the aforementioned 10 journalists are tried for.
To claim that the death penalty for creating propaganda in the favour of a state enemy is “houthi law” is absurd, given the fact that Yemeni penal code have had such a law since 1994, following Republican Decree No. 12.
Article 126, point 2 states: “The death penalty shall be meted out to any: Broadcasting false biased news, data or rumors or willfully disseminating inciting propaganda that lead to causing damage to the military preparedness for the defense of the country or the war operations of the armed forces in order to incite fear and weaken morale among the people”.
Article 128 goes further, saying: “The death penalty shall be meted out to anyone who provides a foreign government or anyone working for the interest thereof, in any form and by any means, any news, information, objects, correspondences, documents, drawings, photographs or any other material that is related to the government authorities, public authorities, corporations that work for the benefit of the public while there was an order by the relevant concerned entity to bar the dissemination or broadcast thereof accordingly.
The 10 journalists aforementioned are linked to various news outlets, which includes the Islamist Islah Party’s online website, Saudi-based Masdar TV, Pro-Coalition Yemen Shabab TV and others.
Lashing out harsh sentences for enemy collaboration is something that has been practiced by virtually any country in times of war. Denmark notably had the “judicial settlement” phase following the end of the Second World War, whereas collaborators – civillian & millitary – were sentenced with the death penalty. Long-term imprisonment for aiding an enemy with “propaganda” in times of war is still part of Danish criminal code till this day.