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.


How Meir Kahane’s toxic legacy poisoned the Palestinian peace process

Updated 22 April 2019
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How Meir Kahane’s toxic legacy poisoned the Palestinian peace process

  • Brooklyn-born rabbi who demanded forced emigration of Arabs and inspired Israel’s far right is latest subject of Arab News ‘Preachers of Hate’ series
  • As a member of the Israeli parliament, Kahane proposed laws to strip Arabs of citizenship and force their emigration

JEDDAH: As Israel’s most right-wing government in living memory prepares to take office, the outlook for the Palestinian-Israeli peace process has rarely been more dismal.

After his narrow election victory this month, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is clinging to office by assembling a coalition of Knesset members with no interest in peace. They range from far-right ultra Zionists to overt racists. Many, in particular the Otzma Yehudit, or “Jewish Power” party, are acolytes of Meir Kahane — a Brooklyn-born rabbi who co-founded the militant Jewish Defense League in 1968,  joined the West Bank settler movement and established an extremist Israeli political party.

It is because of this toxic legacy that Kahane is the subject today of Preachers of Hate — the Arab News series that exposes extremist clerics of all religions and nationalities, places their words and deeds in context, and explains their malign influence on those who follow them.

As a member of the Knesset, Kahane proposed laws to strip Arabs of citizenship and force their emigration. 

In the end he proved too extreme even for the Israeli far right; he was disqualified from running for office, and was eventually assassinated in New York in 1990.

Kahane’s hatred lives on, however, in Israel’s continuing rejection of the Palestinian people’s entitlement to basic human dignity, far less a meaningful peace process and an independent state.

As the leading academic and Arab News columnist Yossi Mekelberg writes today: “Few people have contaminated the discourse within Israel with sheer hatred and anti-Arab bigotry as much as Meir Kahane.”

 

Also Read: Meir Kahane: A torch to fuel anti-Arab hatred