AL-MUKALLA: The Iran-backed Houthis brutally tortured and placed abducted model Entesar Al-Hammadi in solitary confinement in Sanaa, government officials have warned.
The Houthis abducted the model and actress early last year after snatching her and a friend from a Sanaa street.
After her abduction, the militia tortured Al-Hammadi, subjected her to a virginity test and locked her alone in an isolated cell in the political security prison in Sanaa. She was then sentenced to five years’ imprisonment on prostitution and drug charges.
The model has strongly denied the allegations and warned that she was abducted over her refusal to work with the group.
This week, a Houthi captor, Um Zaid, brutally attacked Al-Hammadi with electric wires, causing bruising on her face and body. It came after the model was found chewing khat, a natural stimulant widely consumed in Yemen.
Al-Hammadi was found outside her cell, a Sanaa source told Arab News by telephone.
The treatment of Al-Hammadi has sparked condemnation by Yemeni activists, journalists, government officials and lawyers who jointly called on the Houthis to immediately release the model.
Yemen Information Minister Muammar Al-Eryani said that Houthis subjected the model to “enforced disappearance, psychological and physical torture,” and “illegally sentenced her to five years in prison when she refused to work with the militia’s prostitution networks to trap political and media figures.”
Al-Eryani accused the Houthis of breaching religious and tribal norms that give women immunity in such circumstances.
“The international community, the UN and human rights organizations that fight against violence against women are demanded to condemn the crimes committed by the terrorist Houthi militia against Yemeni women, and to put real pressure on its leaders to immediately and unconditionally release the artist Entesar Al-Hammadi, and hundreds of forcibly disappeared persons,” the Yemeni minister said on Twitter.
Similarly, dozens of Yemeni activists, journalists, writers, judges, lawyers and academics wrote a joint petition on social media to condemn the Houthi captors for abusing the model, demanding her immediate release.
“She is subjected to beatings and harsh brutal treatment in the central prison in Sanaa because she has no support or intercessor within the Houthi authority in Sanaa ... Al-Hammadi is a young woman in her 20s and is the only breadwinner for her old blind Yemeni father and her elderly Ethiopian mother,” the petition said.