Houthis marrying Yemeni underage girls by force: press

Iran-backed Houthi rebels brandish their weapons at a gathering in Sanaa in this file photo. (AFP)
Updated 07 April 2017

Houthis marrying Yemeni underage girls by force: press

ADEN: The Yemeni government said people kidnapped and held at militants’ prisons number more than 14,000 since the militias started invading several provinces two years ago. Besides, young girls are being forced to marry leaders and soldiers of Houthi militants despite parents’ refusal, local Yemeni press reported recently.
Parents who object to the forced marriage of their daughters are threatened with death, imprisonment, torture and even displacement and confiscation of property, according to an SPA report.
Houthis have been attempting to impose a foreign agenda and beliefs on the Yemeni civilians living in Sanaa and in other areas under their control, according to the reports.
The “Houthi supervisors,” as residents in Ibb Province call them, turned to forced marriage after the Yemeni society proved reluctant to accept the militants’ foreign agenda and traditions. Yemeni tribes reject marriages unless they are based on their own customs and traditions.
Local media reported a man in Madaq village in Badan Province was about to have his house and land confiscated when he refused to give his 16-year-old girl in marriage to a Houthi leader.
In the town of Habish in the same province, one businessman was kidnapped and blackmailed into approving his daughter’s marriage to a Houthi supervisor in the area.
“Armed militants took him to force him to approve the marriage despite the girl’s young age and rejection of the marriage,” local people told the media.
In Al-Radhmah, east of Ibb Province, a girl was kidnapped by Houthis and forced to marry a Houthi leader at gunpoint.
Local sources in Ibb Province said more than 18 cases of forcible marriage are known to residents. The number could be in hundreds given the fact many parents are afraid of speaking out, they said.
Meanwhile, a statement by the Yemeni Human Rights Ministry showed that individuals that have been forcibly disappeared number nearly 3,000 people including Minister of Defense General Mahmoud Al-Subaihi and the senior member of the Al-Islah Party, Mohammad Qahtan. Senior Yemeni officials Nasir Mansour Hadi and Faisal Rajab who were included in the United Nations Security Council resolutions, also are missing. The statement said those kidnapped included many political, media and rights figures.
The statement also said the militias turned more than 400 government offices into prisons. An estimated 73 people died in these prisons as a result of torture.


Iranian wedding party fueled new COVID-19 surge, President Rouhani says

Updated 06 June 2020

Iranian wedding party fueled new COVID-19 surge, President Rouhani says

  • New cases dipped to 2,886 on Friday, bringing Iran’s total cases to more than 167,000, with over 8,000 deaths
  • Health officials have been warning of a second wave of the outbreak, but say a reason for the surge in new cases could be wider testing

DUBAI: A wedding party contributed to a new surge in coronavirus infections in Iran, President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday but insisted the country had no option but to keep its economy open despite warnings of a second wave of the epidemic.
Iran, which has been gradually relaxing its lockdown since mid-April, has reported a sharp rise of new daily infections in recent days. Thursday’s toll of 3,574 new cases was the highest since February, when the outbreak was first reported.
“At one location, we witnessed a peak in this epidemic, the source of which was a wedding that caused problems for the people, health workers and losses to the economy and the country’s health system,” Rouhani said on state TV. He did not say when or where the wedding took place.
New cases dipped to 2,886 on Friday, bringing Iran’s total cases to more than 167,000, with over 8,000 deaths.
Health officials have been warning of a second wave of the outbreak, but say a reason for the surge in new cases could be wider testing. One official said about 70% of the new cases in Tehran were among those who had traveled outside the capital in recent days.
Iran has been struggling to curb the spread of COVID-19 but authorities are concerned that measures to limit public and economic life to contain the virus could wreck an already economy already reeling under international sanctions.
“In these circumstances, we have no other choice — that is, there is no second option,” Rouhani added. “We have to work, our factories have to be active, our shops have to be open, and there has to be movement in the country as far as it is necessary.”
Iranian universities reopened on Saturday after being closed for more than three and a half months, state media reported. Nurseries will reopen in a week’s time, when Qur'an and languages classes will also resume, Rouhani said.