Houthi defector says Iranian-backed militia committed ‘heinous crimes’ against Yemeni people

Abdelsalam Jaber said the Houthis would soon face defeat. (File/AFP)
Updated 12 November 2018

Houthi defector says Iranian-backed militia committed ‘heinous crimes’ against Yemeni people

  • Abdelsalam Jaber says Houthis turned state institutions into warring islands
  • Jaber is the most senior member of the Houthi militia to defect since the war began

DUBAI: Houthi militias, backed by Iran, have committed "heinous crimes" against the people of Yemen, the militia's propaganda chief who deserted the group on Friday has said.

Abdelsalem Jaber said conditions are ripe for the “swift completion of the process of liberation” of Yemen from the control of the Houthis.

Speaking at a news conference in Riyadh on Sunday, Jaber, the self-styled information minister, accused the Houthis of a long list of misdeeds, including turning state institutions into warring islands ruled by militias.

“Detainees in Houthi prisons are being treated inhumanely,” Jaber said, adding that what was happening in Houthi-controlled areas “is the work of militias” that have competing “centers of power.”

Jaber is the most senior member of the Houthi militia to defect to the government side since the Yemeni war began in 2014.

Jaber arrived in Saudi Arabia with his family after fleeing the capital Sanaa, Moammer al-Iryani, information minister of the Yemeni government, said on Saturday.

Confirming the longstanding allegations that the Houthis were being aided by Iran and other countries, Jaber said Yemenis reject “the foreign domination of the country.”

Jaber said the Houthis’ dominance was in its final days, adding that the “Yemeni people have rejected Houthi injustices and are waiting for an opportunity to get rid of them.”

Jaber’s defection comes against a backdrop of continued clashes in the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah, a key facility that Yemeni government forces backed by a Saudi-led coalition are seeking to retake from the Houthis.

Fighting has flared in Hodeidah’s east between the Houthis and government forces backed by air strikes and helicopters.

“The battles here are turning into street fighting,” a government official said on Saturday.

Government forces on Saturday recovered control of the May 22 Hospital as part of the offensive.

Amnesty International, the international human-rights watchdog group, has accused the Houthis of “deliberate militarization” of the hospital after they deployed snipers on its roof.


Let militants return home, French anti-terror magistrate urges

In this file photo taken on July 22, 2019 French antiterrorist judge David De Pas poses during a photo session in Paris. (AFP)
Updated 21 October 2019

Let militants return home, French anti-terror magistrate urges

  • Turkey’s offensive against Kurdish militia in northeast Syria has sparked fears that some of the 12,000 militants, including thousands of foreigners, being held in Syrian Kurdish prisons could escape

PARIS: The refusal of the French government to take back Daesh militants from Syria could fuel a new militant recruitment drive in France, threatening public safety, a leading anti-terrorism investigator has told AFP.
David De Pas, coordinator of France’s 12 anti-terrorism examining magistrates, said it would be “better to know that these people are in the care of the judiciary” in France “than let them roam free.”
Turkey’s offensive against Kurdish militia in northeast Syria has sparked fears that some of the 12,000 militants, including thousands of foreigners, being held in Syrian Kurdish prisons could escape.
Officials in Paris say 60 to 70 French fighters are among those held, with around 200 adults, including militants’ wives, being held in total, along with some 300 children.

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France has refused to allow the adults return home, saying they must face local justice. So far Paris has only taken back a handful of children, mostly orphans.

France has refused to allow the adults return home, saying they must face local justice. So far Paris has only taken back a handful of children, mostly orphans.
This week, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian traveled to Iraq to try convince Baghdad to take in and try French militants being held in northern Syria. On Friday, in a rare interview, De Pas argued that instability in the region and the “porous nature” of the Syrian Kurdish prison camps risked triggering “uncontrolled migration of jihadists to Europe, with the risk of attacks by very ideological people.”
The Turkish offensive, which has detracted the Kurds’ attention from fighting Daesh, could also facilitate the “re-emergence of battle-hardened, determined terrorist groups.”