Exile, torture and death: The perils of being a Yemeni journalist

(Al Jazeera Online) – As he was bundled into the back of a car and beaten by his captors, Yousif Aglan’s screams quickly turned to silence as his thoughts shifted to the fate of his wife and young children.

With just a few dollars to his name, the budding journalist feared they’d have to resort to crippling debtors and loan sharks to pay-off his kidnappers and save him from the abuse that has afflicted so many of his colleagues.

“Working as a journalist comes with big risks,” Aglan told Al Jazeera, shortly after he was released from a year of a captivity at a Houthi-run prison.

“In Sanaa, no one dares write anti-Houthi pieces because they are known to kidnap and torture their opponents,” he said.

“While government-held areas are relatively safer, the risks are still there due to partisan and political differences.”

Yemeni journalists like Aglan have faced increasing threats on their lives since late 2014 when Houthi rebels seized the capital, Sanaa, and large swaths of the impoverished country.

Almost immediately after ousting the government, the armed group launched a crackdown on dissent, ransacking the offices of Suhail TV, Yemen Shebab TV, and Yemen Al Youm.

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About Cholo Brooks 16857 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.