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Press bodies, NGOS urge Yemeni rebels to free kidnapped journalists

PARIS, June 9 (KUNA) -- Reporters Without Borders (RWB) and prominent NGOs have called on Yemeni Houthi rebels and their allies to immediately release 10 journalists they have sequestered, some for more than two years now.
RWB and nine NGOS on Friday, issued a solemn call for the journalists' release, noting some of those held need medical treatment and this was not being provided adequately.
Among the nine NGOs are the Gulf Center for Human Rights, Amnesty International, Article 19, Human Rights Watch and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).
"The 10 journalists must be released immediately and unconditionally, as they are detained solely for their peaceful exercise of their rights to freedom of expression and their perceived political opinions," the statement said.
It added that "pending the journalists' release, the de facto Houthi authorities must ensure that they are protected from torture and other ill-treatment and are given, without delay, regular access to their families, lawyers and adequate medical treatment." Over the two-year period, RWB said that several of the detainees have developed health problems because of their lengthy confinement.
"All 10 journalists have had illnesses and medical conditions caused or aggravated by their detention conditions or treatment, including abdominal and intestinal pain, hearing problems, hemorrhoids and headaches," Amnesty International has reported after speaking with families of the detainees.
"Some have been taken to a hospital outside of the prison for medical treatment but have not been given appropriate medication. Others have been denied medical treatment altogether," RWB added.
No charges have been brought against the journalist detainees, and some have not even been questioned over the two-year period until very recently.
Yemen is ranked 160th out of 180 on the World Press Freedom index compiled by RWB. (end) jk.ag