Yemen: The persecution of journalists continues unabated

Iona Craig writes: Working in Yemen as a journalist can often feel like being an involuntary character in a clichéd Hollywood drama — a hybrid of a John le Carré novel and a Johnny English-style parody.

In over three and half years living in Yemen I’ve gone on the run from government agencies on four occasions. Looking back months later you either laugh or shake your head in despair at the surreal madness of it all.

One occasion involved a more than six-hour drive across part of rural Yemen popular for US drone strikes, with a local journalist alongside me. Exhausted and relieved, our successful getaway ended just before dawn.

Another was, in hindsight, rather more comical. As Yemen’s uprising intensified in April 2011, district security chief came knocking on the door in the middle of the night. He was looking for journalists and demanded copies of foreigners’ passports. It was a few weeks after soldiers had stormed the house of three foreign journalists who were then deported. The young, clandestine-revolutionary who guarded the apartment block where American journalist Jeb Boone and I were temporarily staying, managed to put the official off until the next day. [Continue reading…]

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