Yemeni journalist freed from jail after Biden administration ‘urged’ UAE to use influence for release

Hasani, who has worked with several prominent media outlets including CNN, was detained at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Aden, Yemen, last September. Rights groups have been calling for his release after news of his detention broke in February.

A US official involved in the push for al-Hasani’s release told CNN “the Biden administration had urged the UAE to use their influence with the STC (Southern Transitional Council) to secure his release.”

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The official asked for anonymity as he was not authorized to speak on the record.

The journalist was being held at al-Mansoura prison, Aden, by the STC, a secessionist group backed by the United Arab Emirates, which controls large parts of southern Yemen.

Human Rights Watch and the Committee to Protect Journalists have accused the STC of arbitrarily detaining Hasani “simply doing his job,” and say he was beaten by his interrogators and subject to solitary confinement and sleep deprivation.

After five years of involvement and few successes, the UAE withdrew its forces in early 2020, but it maintains operational control of several non-state actors, including the STC.

Shortly after taking office, President Joe Biden announced an end to all US support for Saudi Arabia’s military operations in Yemen and reversed the short-lived designation of Houthi rebels as a foreign terrorist group.