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

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.


German defense minister rejects Turkey complaint over Libya weapons ship search

Updated 24 November 2020

German defense minister rejects Turkey complaint over Libya weapons ship search

  • Germany insists it acted correctly in boarding a Turkish ship to enforce arms embargo of Libya
  • Turkey summoned European diplomats to complain at the operation

BERLIN: Germany’s defense minister on Tuesday rejected Turkey’s complaints over the search of a Turkish freighter in the Mediterranean Sea by a German frigate participating in a European mission, insisting that German sailors acted correctly.
Sunday’s incident prompted Turkey to summon diplomats representing the European Union, Germany and Italy and assert that the Libya-bound freighter Rosaline-A was subjected to an “illegal” search by personnel from the German frigate Hamburg. The German ship is part of the European Union’s Irini naval mission, which is enforcing an arms embargo against Libya.
German officials say that the order to board the ship came from Irini’s headquarters in Rome and that Turkey protested while the team was on board. The search was then ended.
Turkey says the search was “unauthorized and conducted by force.”
German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer backed the German crew’s actions.
“It is important to me to make really clear that the Bundeswehr soldiers behaved completely correctly,” she said during an appearance in Berlin. “They did what is asked of them in the framework of the European Irini mandate.”
“That there is this debate with the Turkish side points to one of the fundamental problems of this European mission,” Kramp-Karrenbauer added, without elaborating. “But it is very important to me to say clearly here that there are no grounds for these accusations that are now being made against the soldiers.”
This was the second incident between Turkey and naval forces from a NATO ally enforcing an arms blockade against Libya.
In June, NATO launched an investigation over an incident between Turkish warships and a French naval vessel in the Mediterranean, after France said one of its frigates was “lit up” three times by Turkish naval targeting radar when it tried to approach a Turkish civilian ship suspected of involvement in arms trafficking.
Turkey supports a UN-backed government in Tripoli against rival forces based in the country’s east. It has complained that the EU naval operation focuses its efforts too much on the Tripoli administration and turns a blind eye to weapons sent to the eastern-based forces.
In Ankara, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said that Irini was “flawed from the onset.”
“It is not based on firm international legal foundations,” Akar said. He renewed Turkey’s criticism of the German ship’s actions.
“The incident was against international laws and practices. It was wrong,” he said.
Kramp-Karrenbauer stressed that “Turkey is still an important partner for us in NATO.” Turkey being outside the military alliance would make the situation even more difficult, she argued, and Turkish soldiers are “absolutely reliable partners” in NATO missions.
But she conceded that Turkey poses “a big challenge” because of how its domestic politics have developed and because it has its “own agenda, which is difficult to reconcile with European questions in particular.”