Yemen: All parties to the conflict continue repressive policies which curtail civil rights


All parties to the conflict in Yemen continue their gross violations of human rights, including arbitrary arrest and detention, and unfair verdicts on fabricated charges in mock trials that lack the minimum international standards for fair trial and due process. Meanwhile, prisons are crowded with prisoners of conscience who are ill-treated in conditions that lack hygiene and the necessary health care at a time when the Coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19) is spreading in various countries of the region, including Yemen. The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) calls on all parties to respect freedom of expression in Yemen and end the persecution of journalists, human rights defenders and academics.

Dr. Hameed Mohammed Yahya Aklan

Dr. Hameed Mohammed Yahya Aklan (photo 1), President of the National University of Science and Technology and Chairman of the Board of Directors of its Science and Technology Educational Hospital, remains in the central prison in Yemen’s capital, Sana'a, where he faces fabricated charges more than five months after his arrest.

On 11 February 2020, Dr. Aklan was arrested along with four of his companions and relatives - his brother Ammar Mohammed Yahya Aklan, Bashir Abdo Ali Al-Barbari, Sakhr Nabil Mohammed Awfan, and Mokhtar Ali Mohsen. They were arrested without a judicial warrant upon their arrival at the Al-Ameerah security checkpoint in Ibb Governorate. His four companions were held for several weeks in detention, although they are innocent citizens, before being released without any charges being made against them.

His family stated that, upon their recent visit to him, they found him suffering in prison in poor health due to diabetes, high blood pressure, lack of proper medical care and the deliberate delay of his medication.

Some reliable local reports confirmed that there are tribal mediations carried out by his Thu Muhammad tribe, which resides in Al-Jawf Governorate, for his release.

For more information about his case, see:

Dr. Adnan Abdulqader Al-Sharjabi

On 01 November 2020, Dr. Adnan Abdulaader Al-Sharjabi (photo 2), assistant professor of psychology at the Faculty of Arts and Human Sciences at Sana'a University, passed away 26 days after being released from prison by the de facto government in Sana'a, the Houthis. Reliable local reports have confirmed that his health deteriorated after his release from prison, and he contracted diseases in his heart and lungs as he did not receive the necessary health care during the period he spent in detention.

On 09 September 2020, Dr. Al-Sharjabi was arrested at the gate of the University of Sana'a while on his way to his college to give the final exam to his students. He was taken to an unknown destination. Six security officers searched his residence after his arrest, and confiscated his laptop. On 06 October 2020, he was released in poor health.

GCHR expresses its deep sadness at the death of Dr. Al-Sharjabi, and offers sincere condolences to his family, colleagues, students and friends. GCHR calls on the competent authorities to conduct an immediate, comprehensive and independent investigation into the ill-treatment he was subjected to during his detention, with the aim of publishing the results and referring the negligent parties to justice to receive the sentence they deserve.

The Nasr Al-Salami case

On 09 July 2020, defense lawyer Abdulmajeed Sabra received the verdict against 36 citizens, including academics, educators, and university students. On 09 July 2019, the Specialised Court of First Instance (the State Security Court) in Sana'a issued a death sentence against 30 of them including Dr. Nasr Mohammed Al-Salami (photo 3) with the other six acquitted and only released after 45 days after the court ruling. It took a year for the verdict to be communicated to the lawyer.

Those convicted do not possess any criminal records, and the investigation was carried out by the People’s Committees of the Houthis, even though they do not have any official legal capacity in accordance with the Yemeni Criminal Procedure Law. Paragraph 10 of Article (84) states that judicial status is granted only by law. They are being held in the Security and Intelligence Prison in Sana'a, awaiting appeal.

Among the books of Dr. Al-Salami is a small pamphlet entitled "The Civilization of the State", which he describes by saying that it is "an expression of freedom from the control of the military who ruled everything in the country up to pure civilian life."

For more information on the case, see the following link:

Dr. Wadih Al-Sharjabi

Those who make critical comments online are also at risk of kidnapping. On the evening of 17 May 2020, an armed group affiliated with the Houthis kidnapped a professor in the Media Department of Hodeidah University, Dr. Wadih Al-Sharjabi (photo 4), while he was in Sana'a, and took him to an unknown destination. Reliable local reports have confirmed that the reason for the arrest is due to his Facebook writings that include condemnation of the recent kidnapping of a number of students of Hodeidah University, and his demand for their release, particularly taking into account their family and health conditions. Among the students who were kidnapped were three of his students, Mujahid Wahib Al-MaasaliOsama Aish, and Adel Al-Hakim.

Al-Sharjabi is a prominent media academic who worked in the 2013/2014 academic year with a group of university professors from Hodeidah to establish a media department that helped train a number of young media professionals and journalists in the region. He also worked in some private universities in Sana'a.

The four journalists sentenced to death

The four journalists sentenced to death on charges of “spying” and “spreading false news”, Abdulkhaleq Ahmed Amran, Akram Saleh Al-WalidiAl-Hareth Saleh Hamid and Tawfiq Mohammed Al-Mansouri, are still in the Security and Intelligence Prison in Sana'a. The defense has prepared the file for their appeal, which is now being deliberated by the Public Prosecution, before being submitted to the Specialised Criminal Court Appeals Division.

In prison, they have experienced ill treatment, and are deprived of visits or regular communications with their families. Detainees face the psychological pain resulting from not seeing their families for a long time and facing the risk of contracting Covid-19 in an environment that is never conducive to proper health standards.

For more information on the case, see:

Journalist Abdullah Awad Bakir


On 27 May 2020, security forces in Hadramout Governorate arrested journalist Abdullah Awad Bakir in the city of Mukalla. The authorities confiscated his car and other belongings upon his arrest. The local authorities have still not announced the nature of the charges against him, although military sources have confirmed the news of the arrest, accusing him of committing a violation of the military law.

Some of his colleagues told GCHR that the reason for his arrest was the publication of a photo of a tissue box on which is printed an image of the governor of Hadhramaut, Major General Faraj Al-Bahsni, who is under the authority of the government of President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi. The image caused widespread criticism of the governor by Internet activists.

Bakir is one of the most prominent journalists in Hadhramaut Governorate, and uses his Facebook page to follow up on citizens' issues and publish their important news.

For more information about his case, see:

Journalist Sultan Ahmed Qatran