Abducted Yemenis kept in chains in Houthi jails

Yemeni tribesmen from the Popular Resistance Committees, loyal to Yemen's Saudi-backed President, disembark from a pickup truck carrying an anti-aircraft gun as they park on a desert road in Beihan, in the Shabwa province, on December 18, 2017. / AFP / ABDULLAH AL-QADRY
Updated 25 December 2017
0

Abducted Yemenis kept in chains in Houthi jails

JEDDAH: Iran-backed Houthi militias are keeping abducted Yemeni civilians imprisoned in chains, and forcing them to wear thin prison clothing in sub-zero temperatures.
Yemenis illegally detained in the Houthis’ “political security” jail in Sanaa have been denied family visits, and relatives are banned from bringing them food, water, medicines and clothes, or to check on their well-being, the Mothers’ Association of the Kidnapped Yemenis said on Sunday.
“Despite the fact that these are the coldest days of winter, the prison supervisors have tortured our sons physically and psychologically, tied their legs with chains and withdrawn all their clothes,” the organization said. Sanaa is currently enduring temperatures of five degrees below zero for the first time in 29 years.
Abducted Yemenis in Houthi prisons have also been tortured, and are suffering from serious illnesses because they are denied access to daylight and their health is being deliberately neglected, the mothers’ group said.
They called on the UN special envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, to fulfill his humanitarian commitment to the abducted Yemenis, and appealed to the Red Crescent to visit them.
The group also urged the UNHRC and other human rights groups to exert pressure on the Houthi militias to release the prisoners unconditionally.
Houthi prisons, both official and clandestine, hold thousands of innocent Yemenis who opposed the militias’ 2014 coup.
The campaign of kidnappings and abductions intensified after popular uprisings against the Houthis by Yemenis loyal to the late former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was murdered by the militias on Dec. 4.
The Houthi militias have also recruited child soldiers to fight for them, and Saudi Arabia is leading efforts to rehabilitate these traumatized children. The King Salman Centre for Relief and Humanitarian Aid (KSRelief) concluded the second phase of one such project on Saturday, along with the Withaq Foundation, the local company that implements it.
The project helped 40 children under 15 from Taiz Governorate in south-western Yemen and Imran Governorate in the north.
Over a month, the children were rehabilitated psychologically, socially and culturally to reintegrate them into the community. There were also awareness and entertainment trips and lectures for the children’s carers.
The scheme will eventually rehabilitate about 2,000 children from throughout Yemen who have been recruited by the Houthis as child soldiers and human shields.


Flash floods in southern Iran kill at least 17, injure 74

Updated 1 min 58 sec ago
0

Flash floods in southern Iran kill at least 17, injure 74

  • Heavy rains outside the city of Shiraz triggered the sudden flooding
  • State TV earlier said most of the people killed had been trying to take videos of the flooding on their phones

TEHRAN: Flash floods in southern Iran have killed at least 17 people and injured 74, Iranian state TV reported on Monday.
Heavy rains outside the city of Shiraz triggered the sudden flooding, according to the head of Iran’s emergency medical services, Pirhossein Koulivand.
State TV earlier said most of the people killed had been trying to take videos of the flooding on their phones.
The provinces of Fars, Kurdistan, Qom and Isfahan were on alert for imminent flooding, and the water authority in the capital, Tehran, said floods were a possibility there as well.
Enayatollah Rahimi, governor of Fars province, said the flooding is under control and aid work is in progress, but asked people “to stay in their homes,” the semi-official ISNA news agency reported.
The northern provinces of Golestan and Mazandaran have been struggling with flooding for over a week, and five people have been killed, according to the state-run Press TV channel.
Over 56,000 people have been affected in various cities and rural areas in the two provinces as a result of heavy rainfall that hit on March 19 and 20.
Iran’s metrology department had warned about the heavy rains in various areas across Iran.
Last year, at least 30 people were killed by flash floods in the Iranian province of Eastern Azerbaijan.