Investigations against Hezbollah Channel Reporter Resumed by Houthis

By Aden - Asharq Al-Awsat
Houthi fighters ride on the back of a patrol truck as they secure the site of a pro-Houthi tribal gathering in a rural area near Sanaa, Yemen, July 21, 2016. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

The Houthi Criminal Prosecutor’s Office in Sanaa has restarted investigations into the journalist and correspondent of the Al-Manar satellite channel, Khalil Al-Omari, who was previously summoned on charges of communicating with a foreign state.

Al-Manar is a channel affiliated with the Lebanon-based Hezbollah group. Investigations into Al-Omari were suspended six months ago after mediation from some Houthi leaders.

A Houthi wing spearheaded by Ahmed Hamed, the de facto head of the coup group’s ruling council in Sanaa, had accused Al-Omari of working for another party in the militia.

Different sections of the Houthi militias have been known to fight each other over influence and power.

Al-Omari said that he was summoned again by the Criminal Prosecutor’s Office, which specializes in terrorism and state security cases, to give statements against the background of his exposé on militia officials smuggling international calls.

The reporter clarified that he froze publishing material he found on the matter out of respect for the militia leader’s decision to assign the leader Ali Al-Qahoum to solve the problem and make reparation for the damage.

He accused corrupt leaders within the Houthi group of being behind the trafficking of international calls. However, he did not mention any names.

Last July, Al-Omari was summoned over charges of communicating with an Arab state.

The journalist had earlier uncovered smuggling of international calls conducted by corrupt members of the Houthi militia in the Sanaa government.

In successive posts on his Facebook page, Al-Omari said that he had “important and complete information about major fiber-optic smuggling of international calls.”

He uncovered facts about the Houthi intelligence service’s involvement, which exposed the Ministry of Communications to significant losses.

According to Al-Omari, the illicit calls were made from the Dar al-Bashair building at the heart of Sanaa. The facility is operated by the Houthi intelligence service and is infamous for being a black site for detaining and torturing political dissidents.


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