In direct contravention of the Yemeni Constitution, which forbids exceptional courts, two specialised courts have been regularly employed to prosecute journalists. The Specialised Criminal Court (SCC), established in 1999 to handle national security cases, targets political dissidents and journalists, while the Specialized Press and Publications Court (SPPG) established in 2009, tries cases related to the media.
Yemen’s government usually monitors and blocks political and sexually explicit websites. If it finds violations, the consequences affect the life of the journalists: There have been reports of journalists being physically attacked as well as arrested and detained since 1990. Until the previous Saleh government, the official reasons for such journalists to be detained were “opposing the law and calling for destruction of infrastructure.” As mentioned before, the freedom of expression within “the limits of the law” actually is applied by all sides and existing parties to destroy their political-military opponents, and their propaganda machines (press and tv) due to the chaos of the war and its consequences.
In 2020 there are four journalists waiting for their execution according to the Amnesty International. Based on their made-up charges – spying for Saudi Arabia, spreading fake news, broadcasting rumors – the Specialized Criminal Court in Sana’a sentenced them to death on the 11th of April, 2020.