Yemen charges editor of opposition website

Sana'a, Yemen - The missing editor of an opposition website in Yemen has appeared in court charged with involvement in a rebellion in the north of the country.

This is the first time the government in Sanaa has acknowledged it is holding Muhammad al-Maqalih, who was detained in September.

The Yemeni government accuses Mr Maqalih of complicity with Houthi rebels and of planning "criminal acts".

His lawyers deny the charges and say he has been tortured in custody.


Mr Maqalih was detained after publishing an article on his website criticising an offensive by the Yemeni and Saudi Arabian governments on Zaidi Shia rebels known as the Houthis.

In the Arabic-language article he said government forces had killed civilians in the northern region of Saada.

The New York based organisation the Committee to Protect Journalists said he was effectively kidnapped by the government and should be released at once.

The UN refugee agency says 250,000 Yemenis have been displaced by fighting in the region over the past five years.

Houthi rebels from the minority Shia sect have been battling the government since 2004.

In November last year they attacked and overran a mountainous region inside Saudi territory.

The rebels have been all but pushed back, but both governments are rejecting a ceasefire offer from the rebel leadership, saying they cannot be sure it is genuine.