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Maad Al-Zekri

Sana'a, Yemen
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About Maad
Maad Al-Zekri is an independent Yemeni journalist based in Sana'a. I am a 2019 Pulitzer Prize winner for international reporting for a year-long coverage of the war in Yemen with the Associated Press team. I am an independent Yemeni journalist based in Sana'a. Over the past 10 years, I worked as a photographer, video journalist, and a researcher for different local and international media and UN organizations. I have reported and visually documented multiple aspects of Yemen’s civil war. I have travelled to multiple areas around the country to cover the spread of hunger and cholera and the plight of those displaced by the war.
My March 2016 photo of a severely malnourished infant, Udai Faisal, at a Sanaa hospital became an iconic image that brought home to readers around the world the horrors of the near-famine created by the war.
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Migrants in Yemen face torture, rape in perilous journey to Saudi Arabia

05 Apr 2023  |  AP News
The article details the harrowing experiences of migrants, particularly from the Horn of Africa, who are arriving in Yemen with the hope of reaching Saudi Arabia. Despite the ongoing civil war in Yemen, the number of migrants has increased, with over 111,500 arriving in 2016. These migrants, including the Ethiopian coffee farmer Omar Farrag, face extortion, torture, and abuse at the hands of smugglers and trafficking rings, which are believed to be protected by local militias. Women face the risk of rape, and there is evidence of forced deportations and recruitment by militant groups. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is aware of the abuses but the full extent of the crisis is unknown. Migrants take dangerous routes through Djibouti or Somalia to reach Yemen, and their journey is fraught with violence and exploitation. Despite his own suffering and the death of his brother, Farrag is still determined to reach Saudi Arabia.

Migrants cross Yemen war zone to find work in Saudi Arabia

14 Feb 2020  |  Sentinel and Enterprise
The number of migrants from the Horn of Africa arriving in Yemen surged to 150,000 in 2018, with many aiming to reach Saudi Arabia for work. Despite the dangerous journey through war-torn Yemen and the risk of deportation from Saudi Arabia, migrants like Mohammed Eissa and Mohammad Ibrahim endure hardships including robbery, extortion, and torture in hopes of escaping poverty. The journey involves dealing with smugglers, crossing the sea, and walking long distances. The migrants' experiences highlight the unending loop of arrivals and deportations, the dangers of inexperienced smugglers, and the dire conditions they face along the way.

Ethiopians face deserts and smugglers on the way to Saudi

14 Feb 2020  |  CityNews Toronto
Mohammed Eissa, a 35-year-old Ethiopian, embarks on a perilous journey to Saudi Arabia, traversing the harsh desert of Djibouti and the war-torn landscape of Yemen. Despite the dangers, including robbery and the threat of arrest, Eissa remains determined to reach Saudi Arabia to earn money for his family. The article highlights the increasing flow of migrants from the Horn of Africa to Yemen, driven by the hope of escaping poverty, and the challenges they face, including deportation from Saudi Arabia. Eissa's story is part of a broader series supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, shedding light on the human cost of migration.

Ethiopians face deserts and smugglers on the way to Saudi

13 Feb 2020  |  vancouver.citynews.ca
Mohammed Eissa, a 35-year-old Ethiopian, embarks on a perilous journey through the Horn of Africa and war-torn Yemen to reach Saudi Arabia, driven by the hope of escaping poverty. Despite the dangers, including robbery and harsh conditions, Eissa remains determined, relying on his faith and past experiences. The article highlights the increasing flow of migrants from Ethiopia to Saudi Arabia, the challenges they face, and the uncertain outcomes even if they reach their destination. The International Organization for Migration reports significant numbers of migrants taking this route, with many being deported back to Ethiopia.

After two years of the conflict in Yemen, children in the country are sadly starting a third year of violence and brutality. More than half of the 3 million displaced people are children. They were forced to flee their homes, some of them narrowly cheating death from bullets and bombs and now live in squalid conditions with little food, water and without regular schooling. Parties to the conflict must spare children but what is really needed is an end to the conflict.

The United Arab Emirates and Yemeni forces run a secret network of prisons where prisoners are brutally tortured. The U.S. has questioned some detainees, and have regular access to their testimony -- a potential violation of international law. (June 21)


Child Hunger Spreads in War-Ravaged Yemen

War Crimes in Yemen by the Saudi-led coalition. As part of AP team, Maad al-Zekri chronicled the destruction of MSF hospital in Hajjah.

Women photographers in Yemen

Inside Yemen’s secret prisons — AP Photos

23 Jun 2017  |  AP Photos
The article discusses the case of Ali Awad Habib, a businessman in Aden, Yemen, who was detained and allegedly tortured by the Security Belt forces. Habib was taken from his office and family business by masked gunmen and held for six months, during which he faced various accusations, including being an al-Qaida member, a drug dealer, and an Iranian agent. Despite his release, Habib's father remains unaccounted for, believed to be taken to an Emirati base in Assab, Eritrea. Naquib al-Yahri, head of Mansoura prison, denies any torture or illegal detentions, while Aden's security chief, Shalal al-Shaya, dismisses reports of illegal detentions and torture, stating that raids are carried out legally and expressing indifference to the fate of the detainees.

Home of Yemen’s rebels struggles after strikes’ devastation

04 Nov 2016  |  AP News
Saada, the birthplace of Yemen’s Shiite rebels, has suffered extensive damage due to airstrikes by Saudi Arabia and its allies. The city has seen a significant portion of its infrastructure destroyed, including historic buildings, hospitals, and schools. Despite the decrease in bombings, residents live in constant fear of further strikes and a potential ground assault. The Houthi movement, which originated in Saada, has been at the center of the conflict. The Saudi-led coalition has targeted the city heavily, accusing the Houthis of receiving Iranian support and using civilian structures for military purposes, which the Houthis and Iran deny. The humanitarian situation is dire, with a lack of medical supplies, malnutrition, and the risk of death for pregnant women due to complications. Efforts to return to normalcy are hampered by the fear of airstrikes, with many schools still closed and children being recruited as soldiers by both sides of the conflict.

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