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Yemen's Houthis ban Whatsapp after slamming its use for 'infidelity, exchanging obscene films' Open in fullscreen

The New Arab Staff

Yemen's Houthis ban Whatsapp after slamming its use for 'infidelity, exchanging obscene films'

A prosecutor working under Yemen's Houthi rebels has banned the use of Whatsapp [Getty]

Date of publication: 9 October, 2020

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The Jiblah District Prosecutor in central Yemen's Ibb Governorate has directed police to arrest anyone who downloads or uses Whatsapp.
A prosecutor working under Yemen's Houthi rebels has circulated a ruling banning the use of Whatsapp, The New Arab's Arabic-language service reported.

The Jiblah District Prosecutor in central Yemen's Ibb Governorate has directed police to arrest anyone who downloads or uses the program.

Police have reportedly also been ordered to search citizens' phones. The prosecution ordered for special women's teams to be set up to search women's phones. 

Citizens in the governorate were given one week to remove the messaging application. 

Inspection campaigns will also be carried out in mobile phone stores.

The prosecutor's memo said Whatsapp had become a "disease for the Islamic community", the use of which had shifted to "establishing unlawful sexual relations, marital infidelity and the exchange of obscene clips and films".

The memorandum recommended that the messaging application be included among "immoral and anti-Sharia acts".

The directive sparked anger on social media, according to The New Arab's Arabic-language service, with many viewing the decision as curtailing the freedom of Yemenis.

In reaction to the ruling, the Ibb Governorate Appeals Prosecutor issued a directive to "not rely" on the Jableh District Prosecution memo.

The governorate said "the normal use of the (WhatsApp) program is not a crime".

The conflict in Yemen began with the 2014 takeover of the capital Sanaa by the Iranian-backed Houthis. A Saudi-led coalition allied with the government has been fighting the Houthis since March 2015.

The war in Yemen has spawned the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, leaving millions suffering from food and medical shortages. It has killed over 112,000 people, including fighters and civilians, according to a database project that tracks violence.

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