Yemeni activists accuse Houthis of detaining, torturing women over made-up charges

Houthi militants have been accused by a Yemen rights group of illegally detaining women and torturing them. (REUTERS/Abduljabbar Zeyad/File Photo)
Updated 18 January 2019
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Yemeni activists accuse Houthis of detaining, torturing women over made-up charges

  • The allegations were first raised over the weekend by the Yemen Organization for Combating Human Trafficking
  • An AP investigation last month showed that thousands of Yemenis have been imprisoned by the Houthi militia during the four years of Yemen’s grinding civil war

SANAA: Yemen’s Houthi militias hold dozens of women without bringing them to trial or charging them with a crime, often torturing the detainees and blackmailing their families, activists said on Thursday.

The allegations were first raised over the weekend by the Yemen Organization for Combating Human Trafficking, based in the capital, Sanaa. 

The group’s founder, Nabil Fadel, said he received information from families, former female detainees, and other sources showing that over the past months, the Houthis have been rounding up women over allegations of prostitution and collaboration with the Saudi-led coalition.

A Yemeni rights lawyer on Thursday said the women were rounded up from cafes and parks in the past months. Speaking on condition of anonymity for fears for personal safety, he said their families are searching for their missing daughters.

The Yemeni anti-trafficking group said it obtained new information showing that the militias were carrying out atrocities such as “abuse, torture, and forced disappearances of women and girls in secret and illegal prisons.”

An AP investigation last month showed that thousands of Yemenis have been imprisoned by the Houthi militia during the four years of Yemen’s grinding civil war.

Many of them suffered extreme torture — being smashed in their faces with batons, hung from chains by their wrists or genitals for weeks at a time, and scorched with acid.


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