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.

Dozens of Iraqi protestors wounded as anti-government unrest resumes

Updated 23 min 12 sec ago

Dozens of Iraqi protestors wounded as anti-government unrest resumes

  • In Baghdad’s Tayaran Square overnight, protesters threw petrol bombs and stones at police
  • Baghdad police said its forces had successfully reopened all the roads that were closed by “violent gatherings.”

BAGHDAD: Dozens of Iraqi protestors were wounded in Baghdad and other cities on Monday in clashes with security forces who were trying to clear blocked roads, security and medical sources said, as anti-government unrest resumed after a lull of several weeks.

In Baghdad’s Tayaran Square overnight, protestors threw petrol bombs and stones at police who responded with tear gas and stun grenades, Reuters witnesses said.

Elsewhere in southern Iraq, hundreds of protestors burned tires and blocked main roads in several cities, including Nassiriya, Kerbala and Amara. They say Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi has not fulfilled promises including naming a new government acceptable to Iraqis.

“They (security forces) should stop shooting and aiming, who are they and who we are? Both sides are Iraqis. So why are you killing your brothers?” said one woman protestor in Baghdad who declined to give her name.

Baghdad police said its forces had successfully reopened all the roads that were closed by “violent gatherings.”

Mass protests have gripped Iraq since Oct. 1, with mostly young protesters demanding an overhaul of a political system they see as profoundly corrupt and as keeping most Iraqis in poverty. More than 450 people have been killed.

Numbers had dwindled but protests resumed last week as demonstrators sought to keep up momentum after attention turned to the threat of a US-Iran conflict following Washington’s killing of Tehran’s top general in an air strike inside Iraq.

The killing of Qassem Soleimani, to which Tehran responded with a ballistic missile attack on two Iraqi military bases, has highlighted the influence of some foreign powers in Iraq, especially Iran and the United States.