Yemen: Actress and model Entisar Al-Hammadi remains detained since February


On 20 February 2021, Houthis in civilian clothes arrested actress and model Entisar Al-Hammadi without an arrest warrant at a checkpoint in Sana'a, the capital of Yemen. She remained subject to enforced disappearance for several days, before the launch of a widespread popular solidarity campaign that forced the de facto government, the Houthi group, to refer her case to the judiciary. Her arrest led to a solidarity campaign used the hashtag: #Freedom_for_Entisar_AlHammadi

On 16 April 2021, her lawyer Khaled Al-Kamal said in a press statement with the news website ‘Yemen Future’ that "His client informed him that she suffered from ill-treatment in a Houthi-run prison in Sana'a." He confirmed that “she was detained at a new checkpoint in the Shamlan area, west of Sana’a, with one other colleague.” Al-Kamal expressed his suspicion that, "This checkpoint was established at the behest of a security figure for this purpose." Reliable local press sources confirmed that her colleague is of a Yemeni father and a Syrian mother. They are being held in the women's section of the Sana'a Central Prison.

Press reports stated that on 28 April 2021, the Houthis suspended Public Prosecution member Riyadh Al-Eryani from his mission as the principal investigator in her case due to his request for her release. These reports also confirmed that Al-Kamal had received a threat for defending her. Al-Kamal was also quoted as saying that his client "was wronged and detained without any legal justification, in addition to the invalidity of the arrest and search procedures that were carried out without an official warrant."

According to reports by the local press, the investigation records included a complaint by Al-Hammadi and her colleagues against the security forces' investigators, because they were interrogated blindfolded, before being forced to put their fingerprints on prepared investigation records. The prosecution's investigations revealed that after their detention, Al-Hammadi and her colleagues were transferred to a security agency, where they spent more than ten days, during which time they were subjected to torture and nightly investigations, as well as being deprived of food and drink.

Al-Hammadi is 20 years old, with a Yemeni father and an Ethiopian mother. She is famous for promoting Yemeni folkloric costumes, and she has played a number of acting roles that reflected her talent, most recently in the series "Sad Al-Gharib" and "Ghurbat Al-Ban" during the holy month of Ramadan last year. She has been subjected to racism and condemned for her profession.

A number of her colleagues have mentioned that her father is blind and she has a young brother with special needs, and her mother is old, and that she supports her family and pays the rent for her house by selling bread.

The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) strongly condemns the arbitrary arrest and detention of the actress Entisar Al-Hammadi and her colleague, without any legal justification, as they did not commit any crime under the law, and what has happened to them is a flagrant violation of their civil and human rights. GCHR demands that the Houthi group, the de-facto government in Sana'a, release her and her colleagues immediately and unconditionally. GCHR also calls on the authorities to fully respect public freedoms and stop violating the personal freedoms of all citizens, including the rights of women to live free from restrictions based on their gender.