Houthi militia violates UN-brokered ceasefire in Hodeidah 29 times in last 24 hours

The Houthi militia have violated the UN-brokered ceasefire in the Yemeni port city of Hodeidah 29 times in the last 24 hours. (Reuters/File)
Updated 27 December 2018

Houthi militia violates UN-brokered ceasefire in Hodeidah 29 times in last 24 hours

JEDDAH: The Houthi militia have violated the UN-brokered ceasefire in the Yemeni port city of Hodeidah 29 times in the last 24 hours, the Arab coalition said.

The coalition also said that the Iranian-backed Houthis continue to violate the truce in Hodeidah, and that they have been bombing areas populated by civilians resulting in injuries. 

The warring parties in Yemen’s nearly four-year war reached a ceasefire deal at UN-sponsored peace talks in Sweden earlier this month. The truce began last week Tuesday but the Houthis continue to violate it. 

The UN Security Council last week unanimously approved the deployment — for an initial 30 days — of an advance monitoring team led by retired Dutch General Patrick Cammaert. He is chair of a Redeployment Coordination Committee (RCC) that includes representatives from both sides of the conflict.
Cammaert’s team, which the United Nations has said will not be uniformed or armed, will oversee the truce and troop withdrawal from Hodeidah city and three ports.
The United Nations will also provide support for the management of and inspections at the ports of Hodeidah, Salif and Ras Issa; and strengthen its presence in the region.
Hodeidah, the main port used to feed Yemen’s 30 million people, has been the focus of fighting this year, raising fears abroad that a full-scale assault could cut off supplies to nearly 16 million people suffering from severe hunger.
The deal reached in Sweden is meant to pave the way for a wider ceasefire in the impoverished country and a second round of talks in January on a framework for political negotiations.


Iran sentences British lawyer to 10 years in jail for spying

Iran has a long track record of detaining foreigners and political prisoners in Evin prison (pictured). (File/Reuters)
Updated 11 August 2020

Iran sentences British lawyer to 10 years in jail for spying

  • British-Iranian dual national is accused of recruiting Iranian officials to work for MI6
  • Latest convictions highlight Iran’s ‘arbitrary’ targeting of foreigners with Western links

LONDON: A British-Iranian lawyer has been convicted on charges of spying and sentenced to 10 years in prison, along with four other Iranian nationals.

Iran’s judiciary said Shahram Shirkhani, a Tehran-based lawyer, spied for British intelligence services and tried to recruit Iranian officials to work for MI6.

Shirkhani, who also taught law at the Islamic Azad University at the time of his arrest, previously served as a legal adviser to Iran’s foreign investment authority.

Gholamhossein Esmaili, a judiciary spokesman, said Shikhani had passed on classified information about Iran’s central bank and defense ministry contracts.

Shikhani was one of “five Iranians who were spying for foreign intelligence services” to be arrested over the past few months, Esmaili said, alleging that they had been working for Britain, Israel and Germany.

The only other person named by Esmaili for spying was Masoud Mosaheb, an Austrian-Iranian national who served as secretary-general of the Iran-Austria friendship association.

In a separate case to that of Shikhani, Mosaheb was also sentenced to 10 years in jail for spying for Israeli and German intelligence agencies, Esmaili said.

Tehran has been widely criticised for its judicial process and for targeting foreigners perceived to have links with Western nations.

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has previously noted the pattern of Iran detaining dual nationals, and said the arrests and detentions of many of those detained by Tehran are “arbitrary,” and that authorities targeted people based on their “national or social origin.” 

Human Rights Watch said Iranian authorities “systematically deny” foreigners charged with national security crimes — such as Shikhani and Mosaheb — with access to lawyers of their choosing.

They also said that many of those sentenced in Iran to long jail terms or even death “did not have access to any legal counsel during investigation.”

Last month, Iran executed Mahmoud Mousavi Majd, a former translator convicted of spying for the US and Israel. He was accused of helping locate Qassem Soleimani, the powerful commander killed by the US in a drone strike.

Reza Asgari was also executed in July after he was convicted of spying on Iran’s missile program for the US.