Houthis committed over 5,000 cases of rights violations: Report

Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, wearing an army uniform, ride on an armed truck to patrol the international airport in Sanaa, Yemen, in this March 28, 2015 file photo. (AP)
Updated 06 April 2017
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Houthis committed over 5,000 cases of rights violations: Report

HAIL: The Yemeni Coalition to Monitor Human Rights Violations found that Houthi and Saleh militias committed more than 5,000 human rights offenses, including more than 200 enforced disappearances, during 2016, according to its annual report.

The report included 5,092 violations, of which, there are 4,882 documented cases of arbitrary detention, 210 cases of enforced disappearance, the majority committed at the hands of the Houthis and ousted Saleh forces, which constitutes about 95 percent of the total cases. Security forces committed 124 violations, about 2 percent of the total.
The report, a copy of which was obtained by Arab News, showed the documented breaches affirm that 2016 witnessed the greatest waves of arbitrary arrests implemented by Houthi and Saleh militias that included women and children. The majority of detainees were subjected to brutal, degrading, inhumane and severe treatment at the hand of their jailers.
The report cited stories told by the detainees on the use of both physical and psychological torture, as they were kept prisoner in the underground basements of houses and schools used as secret prisons. Dozens were detained in small and dark rooms without ventilation. Many detainees suffered skin diseases and infections as a result of lack of hygiene. They were prevented from contacting their families or having lawyers assigned to defend their rights.
Arbitrary arrests and abductions documented in the report also included women, thus ignoring and bypassing all moral and ethical values, and humanitarian customary traditions. The actions criminalize forcing women and children to enter political conflicts, and armed conflict in particular, according to the report.
Monitoring field squads of the Yemeni rights coalition documented 20 cases of violations of women who were arbitrarily arrested; 19 cases were implemented at the hands of the Houthi militias, and one case by an unknown party.
Meanwhile, during 2016, 115 children were subjected to arbitrary arrest. The report also documented three cases of enforced disappearances among children, all of whom were detained inside Houthi and Saleh secret prisons.
Politicians were among the most affected by arbitrary arrest and disappearance. The report said that cases of violations that included politicians numbering 1,032, of which 942 political figures were subjected to arbitrary arrests while 90 persons were subjected to enforced disappearance.
Activists and human rights defenders came in the third within this category of violations, with the total number of violations amounting to 702, of which there were 662 cases of arbitrary arrests and 40 cases of enforced disappearance.
Meanwhile, the uprising against the Houthi and Saleh militias continued following attacks raged by their militias against the tribes and sheikhs in Yemen.
These divisions came after Houthis abducted many children and forced them into the war. The militias also abducted tribesmen who refused to fight with them and enforced their disappearance inside secret prisons.
The Houthi teams continued to scour the towns and villages under their control to drag young people to fight with them.
Yemeni Foreign Minister Abdulmalik Al-Mikhlafi said that Houthi militias continue to detain Defense Minister Mahmoud Al-Subaihi, Nasser Hadi and Mohammad Qahtan, and thousands of the others abducted and arrested.
The Kingdom’s ambassador to Yemen, Mohammed bin Saeed Al-Jaber, also confirmed that the continued disappearance of Al-Subaihi at the hands of the Houthi militias, as well as the disappearance of Qahtan and Hadi.


Emirati astronaut prepares to join elite Arab space club

Updated 20 July 2019
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Emirati astronaut prepares to join elite Arab space club

  • Hazza Al-Mansoori 'living a dream' as he and backup astronaut train for space mission in September
  • Soyuz-MS 15 launch could be the beginning of a bold new era of Arab exploration of space

DUBAI: More than 30 years after an Arab first journeyed into space, an  Emirati is preparing to become the latest Arab space traveler when he joins a team of astronauts at the International Space Station (ISS) in September.

For months, Hazza Al-Mansoori and backup pilot Sultan Al-Neyadi have been undergoing intensive training in Russia, Germany and the US to prepare for the mission. The first Emirati to travel into space will make the historic journey on board a Soyuz-MS 15 spacecraft due to take off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Sept. 25.

During the eight-day mission, he will conduct a tour of the ISS for Arabic viewers on Earth and carry out 15 experiments for the Science in Space schools competition conducted by Dubai’s Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center.

The crew, who will include an American and a Russian, are allowed to take up to 1 kg of personal items with them on the mission.

“I will take my family photo and share the experience of being in space with them,” Al-Mansoori said. There will also be an image of Sheikh Zayed, the UAE’s founding father, meeting American astronauts in 1976.

“I am also going to take an Emirati flag. I am living my dream and want to give something back to my country.”

‘I will take an Emirati flag into space. I am living my dream and want to give something back to my country.’

Emirati astronaut Hazza Al-Mansoori

Al-Mansoori will join an elite space club comprising Saudi Arabia’s Prince Sultan bin Salman and Syria’s Muhammed Faris. Prince Sultan became the first Arab to travel to space as part of space shuttle Discovery’s crew in 1985. Faris was a crew member of USSR’s Soyuz spacecraft in 1987.

The Emirati astronaut is aware that history is resting on his shoulders. Speaking to the media recently during his training program in Houston, Al-Mansoori  said it is a huge personal honor to be the first Emirati chosen for space exploration.

“I’m excited about the whole mission, but especially to experience the microgravity and be living in the ISS, and conducting daily experiments and working with the amazing group on board,” he said.

Al-Mansoori and Al-Neyadi have been undergoing rigorous training at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. The program includes familiarization with NASA equipment on board the space station, and handling emergency situations, such as ammonia gas leaks and depressurization.

The Emiratis have been trained to fend for themselves if the return goes off course and they land in the wilderness of Russia.

Speaking of the Soyuz-MS 15 mission, Yousuf Al-Shaibani, director general of the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center, said: “We strive to see the UAE Astronaut Program achieve its objective of preparing generations of Emiratis who will contribute to enhancing the country’s position in space science and research to serve the ambitious aspirations aimed at building a national knowledge-based economy.”

The September launch could prove to be the beginning of a bold new era for Arabs and space. Al-Neyadi, the backup pilot, has been promised a seat on a future mission, and the UAE and Saudi Arabia are drawing up ambitious plans for the development of the region’s space industry.