AL MUKALLA: Iran-backed Houthis have thrown abducted Yemeni model and actress Entesar Al-Hammadi into solitary confinement as punishment for her protest against the initial incarceration and prison conditions, the model’s lawyer said on Thursday.
Khaled Mohammed Al-Kamal told Arab News that a prosecutor from the rebel-controlled West Sanaa court on Wednesday questioned the model inside the central prison after officials refused to transfer her for a court trial over the past few weeks.
When the investigation ended, the 20-year-old Al-Hammadi verbally clashed with a captor and shouted out about the abduction and miserable prison conditions she had experienced.
Prison officials responded to the outburst by holding Al-Hammadi in solitary confinement, the lawyer said.
“She was separated from her colleagues,” Al-Kamal said. “She is going through bad psychological conditions inside the prison.”
Al-Hammadi and two of her friends were abducted from a Sanaa street on Feb. 20. Yemeni officials said the three actresses were traveling to shoot a TV drama series when the rebels stopped their vehicle on Sanaa’s Hadda Street and took them to an unknown location.
The abduction is the latest in a string of attacks by the Houthis on dissidents and liberal women in areas under the group’s control.
Local and international groups along with government officials have strongly condemned the abduction and called upon the rebels to release them. The Houthis have ignored demands and pledged to put them on trial but to no avail.
Al-Kamal said there were no clear accusations against the model, but he suspected that the Houthis might accuse her of committing “an immoral act,” for not covering her hair or walking without a male guardian in the street.
“I was very optimistic that my client would be released since the prosecutor did not find clear accusations against her,” he said.
Al-Hammadi had participated in two TV drama series and spoken publicly about her ambition of becoming an international supermodel. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Al-Hammadi used social media to promote traditional Yemeni dresses and beauty products.
The detainment of the actresses has sparked outrage inside and outside Yemen as human rights activists and government officials compared Houthi suppression of women to similar activities by terrorist organizations such as Al-Qaeda and Daesh.
In other developments around Sanaa, the Yemen Journalist Union said armed Houthis confiscated a media center after accusing them of collaborating with the internationally recognized Yemen government and the Arab coalition.
Taha Al-Ma’ameri, director of Yemen Digital Media, alerted the union that armed Houthis stormed the center and expelled workers and guards while replacing them with others.
The union accused the Houthis of fabricating accusations against independent media outlets in order to seize them. It also urged Arab and international journalist unions to support Yemen Digital Media by pressuring the Houthis into ending their crackdown on independent journalists.