While journalist Yahya Abdul Raqeeb al-Jubeihi was holding the phone, trying in vain to release his son Hamza, who had been kidnapped by the Houthis from a Sanaa street on September 7, 2016, he was surprised by a military force storming the doors of his house and arresting him as well.
“I was talking on the phone to get Hamza out of prison, and I was surprised by Houthi leaders breaking the door of the courtyard of the house and entering without permission. They told me that I was accused of high treason to the homeland. They entered the women’s headquarters without regard to the customs and morals of Yemeni society and tampered with the place.” With these words, journalist Yahya Al-Jubeihi begins his talk to Asharq Al-Awsat about the story of his arrest and his sons.
He added, “The Houthis kept messing about in my house for four hours, then they took me with my middle son, Dhu Yazan, when we got out of the house, I was surprised that the place turned into a camp. I was imagining it.”
He continued, “I told the officers: Am I important to this degree?! He replied: These are instructions. Al-Jubeihi and his son were then taken to the National Security headquarters in Sana’a, and were placed in a dark underground room, which caused him to have asthma and allergies, which he still suffers from to this day, as he put it.
For 11 months, the journalist Al-Jubeihi was interrogated twice a week, and he talked about this stage by saying, “By virtue of my work in the Council of Ministers, they obtained pictures of me with Saudi and Gulf princes and Arab officials, and the questions were: What do you know about Prince Sultan, or Prince Nayef, and so on with the rest of the Officials, then told me that you are an agent of the countries of aggression, and articles that irritate public opinion.”
He sighs and then continues, “Since the occupation of Sanaa, I have known that the Yemen we know has ended (…) this new Shiite trend, because of which Yemen will pay a lot, and it was difficult to remain silent, but it never occurred to me to be imprisoned in national security.”
Despite the very poor prison conditions, as described by Al-Jubeihi, being in one cell with his two sons Hamza and Dhu Yazan sitting on either side of him, was the most difficult feeling for him as a father, he says, adding, “The prisoners around us were asking: How many Houthis have you killed until he brings you all? !».
Yahya Abdul Raqib Al-Jubeihi, born in 1957 in Taiz, holds a master’s degree in international media from Indiana University in the United States, a diploma in specialized journalism from Oxford, Britain, and a bachelor’s degree in media at King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah.
Al-Jubeihi was tortured twice in the Houthi National Security prisons, the first after he was accused of owning four villas in the upscale Haddah area in Sana’a, even though he used to live on rent; Which prompted him – according to him – to grab a paper and a pen and write a concession to these villas to the so-called Abdul Malik Badr Al-Din Al-Houthi, and he was punished as a result of that with a slap in the face.
He continued, “The other time they came to a file containing more than 38 printed pages to sign, and I agreed on the condition that I read it. They used electricity to force me until I fainted, and after three hours I had to sign, and until now I do not know what the content of this file is.”
Many scenes narrated by Yahya al-Jubeihi from Houthi prisons, including seeing a prisoner bleeding from torture until he died, then the jailers took him in cold blood as if nothing had happened. Al-Jubeihi also lived with prisoners of different nationalities and nationalities, including Arabs, Bahais and Jews.
Al-Jubeihi was surprised one day by the presence of a special court specially established for him inside the prison, and a judge asked him: about his name and his job, before accusing them of collaborating with what they call the countries of aggression.
He added, “Judge Abdo Ismail Rajeh from Sanaa, and when the accusation was rejected and the lawyer (who is close to the family) tried to plead, the judge refused and said in the next session, the first took only 8 minutes.”
In the second session – and the conversation with the journalist Al-Jubaihi – there was an agreement with the judge to release me, I was waiting for the release announcement, but I was surprised by him saying: Do you want to add something, then he said the court ruled to death as a punishment!
He continued, “Then I asked the judge where he came from with this ruling, and he replied, saying (from my head).” Al-Jubeihi added, “After my release from prison, I learned that the verdict was detailed by the leader, Muhammad Ali Al-Houthi, with the death sentence, to be a lesson for other journalists.”
The death sentence issued by the Houthi militia against a Yemeni journalist, which is a precedent, was met with strong local, regional and international reactions, and the US State Department issued a statement. The former UN envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Sheikh Ahmed, mentioned the matter in his briefing to the Security Council, and many countries and organizations condemned this ruling.
According to Yahya al-Jubeihi, “pressure forced the Houthis to release me (…) The directive also came to release me and my son, but they hindered Hamza’s exit and he remained for another five years before releasing him about three months ago. .
Al-Jubeihi believes that the Houthi group, which is mortgaged to Iran, is a malignant cancerous disease in the body of Yemen, and they will continue their war as long as the victims are among the people. .