AL-MUKALLA: A Yemeni journalist held in Houthi prisons is said to be in a “critical health condition” and might die as the Iran-backed Houthis deprive him of life-saving medication, his family said.
The family of Tawfiq Al-Mansouri said that the health of their son, who is suffering from diabetes, heart disease, shortness of breath and swelling of the extremities, has deteriorated during the past 48 hours and the Houthis have refused to give him his drugs or take him to hospital.
“Confirmed information indicates that our son Tawfiq’s life is in danger and he needs urgent transfer to the hospital, which the Houthis have rejected for months,” the family said in an appeal to the public, local and international rights groups, aid organizations and the office of UN Yemen envoy.
Al-Mansouri, a 36-year-old journalist and a father of three children, was among nine journalists who were abducted by the Houthis in Sanaa in 2015.
Five journalists were released in 2020 during the first major prisoner swap between warring factions in Yemen that saw hundreds of prisoners freed.
The Houthis challenged international calls for the release of the four remaining journalists by sentencing them to death, locking them in solitary confinement and mistreating them.
Tawfiq’s brother, Abdullah Al-Mansouri, accused the Houthis of subjecting the journalist to psychological and physical abuse that led to life-threatening diseases, and of refusing him treatment inside or outside the Central Security camp prison where he is being held.
“They left him to die slowly,” Abdullah Al-Mansouri told Arab News on Thursday, naming a Houthi security leader, Abd Shihab Al-Murtada, as the mastermind behind the torture sessions of the journalists.
Yemeni activists, journalists and officials deplored the Houthis for mistreating journalists and urged international organizations and the UN Yemen envoy to pressure the Houthis to stop torturing the journalists and release them immediately.
Sam Al-Ghobari, a Yemeni journalist, tweeted that Tawfiq Al-Mansouri might die “at any moment” due to medical negligence by the Houthis, urging international organizations and influential figures to join voices calling for him to be set free.
“We call on all the media men and celebrities of the Arab and Gulf media to save his life immediately,” he said.
Separately, a civilian was killed and another wounded on Wednesday evening when shells fired by the Houthis landed in their village in the province of Taiz, the official news agency SABA reported.
The Houthis fired mortar shells at Al-Suaiher village in Taiz’s Maqbanah, killing Maher Saeed, 18, and wounding Mohammed Najeeb Ali, 20.
The mortar attack came as the Yemeni army announced that the Houthis bombarded their locations west of Taiz before advancing on the ground in an attempt to seize control of new locations near Han mountain.
Houthi shelling and ground attacks on parts of Taiz controlled by the Yemeni government have not stopped since April 2 when warring factions in the country agreed to stop hostilities under a truce brokered by the UN.
The Houthis have also rejected several proposals to open roads in Taiz under the truce.