The Houthis have banned and criminalised the use of WhatsApp in the southwestern Ibb governorate, which is under the movement’s control.
This came according to a communiqué issued on Thursday evening by the prosecutor of Jiblah District in Ibb, one of the most densely populated Yemeni governorates.
The statement announced that “anyone who uses the WhatsApp application will be arrested” and using the application will be considered “an indecent assault”.
The statement explained: “This application has become the biggest disease in the Islamic world, through which illegal relationships are being made, and must be included among the acts violating morality”.
The Houthi prosecution also ordered the: “Formation of teams to inspect and control phones and carry out campaigns in phone stores,” while giving citizens a week to start abiding by the new regulations.
This is the first decision in Yemen to ban the use of a communication application.
For the past six years, Yemen has witnessed a war between government forces and Iran-backed Houthis, who control several governorates, including the capital of Sanaa since September 2014.
An Arab military coalition led by Saudi Arabia has been supporting government forces against the Houthis since March 2015, at a time when the United Arab Emirates pumps large funds to train and equip parallel forces in Yemen.