yemens houthis turn mosques to detention centers
Last Updated : GMT 12:45:25
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Last Updated : GMT 12:45:25
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As UN envoy heads to Aden

Yemen's Houthis turn mosques to detention centers

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Emiratesvoice, emirates voice Yemen's Houthis turn mosques to detention centers

Iranian-backed Houthi militia of escalating its violations
Aden - Abdel Ghany Yahia

A rights group has accused on Monday the Iranian-backed Houthi militia of escalating its violations against members of the General People’s Congress, saying that it has turned several mosques and schools in Yemen into detention centers to imprison opposition figures.

The Geneva-based SAM Rights and Liberties ngo said in a statement that the capital Sanaa witnessed wide violations against political opponents, where hundreds of Islah party members were detained, following the September 21, 2014 coup. A new wave of violations has recently targeted Congress members.

The organization monitored in recent weeks a “considerable escalation” of killings, abductions, lootings and sabotage of private objects.

In addition, it monitored the displacement of dozens of families related to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, following the Houthis’ attack on his house and against his family members earlier this month, in incidents that ended with the killing of Saleh and arrest of his surviving relatives and guards.

Some of the injured were forced out of the hospitals to unknown locations. SAM has documented more than 160 killings and injured whose fate is unknown.

It also documented the partial or total destruction of residences, and stores in Sanaa, including Sam mall and Al-Kumaim mall. However, SAM could not interview the victims, who were either displaced or feared the consequences of delivering their statements. Houthis also prevented the interview of victims or photography of damaged areas, said the statement.

SAM also received testimonies that most of Saleh’s dead followers were transferred to the Economic Corporation mortuary in Aser in western Sanaa. Houthis refused to hand them over to their relatives until they pledged not to hold a funeral and to limit the burial to the family.

On December 3, Houthis stormed the Consultative Hospital in western 60 street and took five of Saleh’s guards to an unknown place, according to verified statements received by SAM.

In the Bani Sera’ village, on the road between Attour and Hajjah in the northwest, SAM documented the killing of seven civilians and execution of four others, including one child, by Houthis this month. It also witnessed the detention of more than 64 civilians and displacement of 83 families.

On December 3, the Houthis killed Akram Al-Zurqa and seven of his relatives in the city of Hajjah. They then detonated his house and that of his relatives, injuring nearby civilians, witnesses told SAM.

On political side, a political team from the office of UN Special Envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed will begin a tour in Yemen in the interim capital of Aden, ahead of a “conditional” visit to Sanaa, a senior UN source told Asharq Al-Awsat.

It added that the visit was aimed at preparing for a new round of consultations should the parties demonstrate a sincere intention to reach a peaceful political solution to the ongoing crisis. A source in the Yemeni government said that preparations were underway in Aden for the reception of the political team headed by Moein Shraim, Ould Sheikh Ahmed’s deputy.

Another source in the UN envoy’s office noted that the UN plane would not land in Sanaa before Houthis commit to easing the arbitrary measures taken against the leaders of the General People’s Congress. The visit of the UN team to Sanaa will depend on the Houthis’ response to the UN’s demands.

The team had postponed a previous visit to “give the Houthi’s Ansarallah group a chance to take practical measures to create a constructive atmosphere for political dialogue,” a UN official told Asharq Al-Awsat. “Communication is continuing with all parties and the visit is scheduled to take place in the next few weeks,” the official said.

He stressed that some of the special envoy’s advisers would be part of the team and would hold several meetings with the Houthis and the General People’s Congress should they visit Sanaa. The UN special envoy “calls for an end to the violence and support efforts to resume the political process in Yemen,” according to a statement on his official Twitter account.

Cheikh Ahmed also tweeted that latest developments in Sanaa were unacceptable and contrary to international law, calling for an immediate end to the intimidation of Congree leaders, activists and their families.

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