Houthis ‘expelling Sanaa hospital patients to treat leaders and fighters’

Pro-government fighters stand on the barrel of a tank in an area where they fought against Houthi militants in the southwestern city of Taiz, Yemen. (Reuters)
Updated 17 August 2017
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Houthis ‘expelling Sanaa hospital patients to treat leaders and fighters’

JEDDAH: Houthi militants are expelling civilian patients from hospitals in Sanaa and other provinces, sources told Arab News.
The sick are being removed from their beds to make way for leaders of the so-called Houthi “popular committees” and their families, as well as injured militants coming back from the battlefield.
Sources in Yemen said Houthi militants used weapons to expel patients from all departments of the largest Yemeni armed forces hospitals in Sanaa and Dhamar. They also threatened to kill doctors and nurses if they tried to protest or prevent them from expelling the patients.
Sources also said that Houthi militias are stealing medicines destined for patients in order to sell them to pharmacies.
Local sources in Al-Bayda province said that forces loyal to deposed President Ali Abdullah Saleh had robbed a medical center and forbade staff from offering the most basic services to patients and those in need.
Armed militants in Hajjah prevented local medical centers from receiving cholera patients, the sources said.
Leaders of the “popular committees” are doing this to pressure people in these areas to send their sons to the battlefield, it was claimed.
Meanwhile, an International Red Cross delegation to Marib province heard testimonies regarding human rights violations against civilians that were committed by Houthi militias and forces loyal to Saleh, Sabaa news agency reported Wednesday.
Testimonies were heard from the mothers and wives of detainees in Houthi prisons.
Houthi militias kidnapped their relatives from roads, markets and houses, and some died due to torture in prisons and detention centers, witnesses said.
The militias raided houses without any legal justification, and arrested men, children and women, according to the testimonies.
The militias terrified families, imposed compulsory taxes, conscripted children, blew up buildings and looted homes and stores, witnesses said.
Separately, Reuters reported that the central bank of Yemen floated the national currency, instructing banks to follow the market rate in a move aimed at shoring up a financial system battered by war.
A circular said the Aden bank had ditched the official rate of 250 riyals to the dollar in favor of “the exchange rate prevalent in the market... in accordance with the exchange rate lists issued by the central bank.”


Turkey’s jailed pro-Kurdish candidate in first TV appearance for 20 months

Updated 17 June 2018
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Turkey’s jailed pro-Kurdish candidate in first TV appearance for 20 months

  • Selahattin Demirtas, who has been in detention for close to 20 months on security charges and faces a sentence of up to 142 years if convicted
  • One of Turkey’s best-known politicians, he has had to run his campaign mostly through social media

ANKARA: The jailed presidential candidate for Turkey’s pro-Kurdish opposition made his first television appearance in over a year and a half on Sunday, giving a campaign speech ahead of next week’s elections.
Selahattin Demirtas, who has been in detention for close to 20 months on security charges and faces a sentence of up to 142 years if convicted, was nominated by his Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) as a candidate last month.
One of Turkey’s best-known politicians, he has had to run his campaign mostly through social media from his prison cell in the northwestern city of Edirne, while Turkish media have been saturated with coverage of President Tayyip Erdogan and his ministers.
Speaking on state broadcaster TRT in a scheduled 10-minute address, to which he is entitled under election law, Demirtas said voting for Erdogan and his ruling AK Party would mean putting the fate of the country “between one man’s two lips.”
“The only reason I am still here is that the AKP is scared of me. They think tying my hands here and going from square to square spreading accusations about me is being courageous,” a visibly thinner Demirtas said.
“They are openly violating the constitution by declaring me guilty even though there is no conviction ruling against me, and are trying to direct the public by misinforming them,” he said.
The snap parliamentary and presidential elections on Sunday will herald the switch to the new powerful executive presidency narrowly approved in a referendum last year.
In previous elections, Demirtas won votes beyond his core Kurdish constituency, and is likely to draw significant backing in the first round of the presidential vote, while boosting the prospects of his party entering parliament.
Demirtas’s HDP arranged a viewing of his speech in Istanbul’s Bakirkoy Square, where hundreds of supporters gathered to watch.
“You should have no doubt that I will be acquitted in front of the law as soon as possible. So long as the judicial authorities follow the superiority of the law and not the government’s expectations,” Demirtas said, as supporters cheered and waved flags.