Yemen: Various parties to the conflict continue to commit grave human rights violations

27.09.21

The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) is concerned about the arrests of human rights defenders and the use of the death penalty after unfair trials in which those convicted alleged they were tortured in Yemen.

Execution of nine citizens

On 18 September 2021, the de facto government in Sana'a, the Houthi group, executed nine citizens in Al-Tahrir Square in the capital, Sana'a, after convicting them of involvement in the killing of the head of its political council, Saleh Al-Samad, along with six other companions, on 20 April 2018, in an air strike in the city of Hodeidah, western Yemen.

The list of the nine executed citizens included:

Mohammed Ibrahim Ali Al-Quzi, 46 years old;

Abdulmalik Ahmed Mohammed Hamid, 55 years old;

 Mohammed Yahya Mohammed Noah, 46 years old;

 Mohammed Khaled Haig Al-Omar, 34 years old;

 Moaz Abdulrahman Abdullah Abbas, 23 years old;

 Ibrahim Mohammed Abdullah Aqel, 44 years old,

 Abdulaziz Ali Mohammed Al-Aswad, who was arrested at the age of seventeen;

 Mohammed Mohammed Ali Al-Mashkhari, 47 years old;

Ali Ali Ibrahim Al-Quzi, 43 years old.

In April 2021, the Specialised Criminal Court of Appeal had confirmed the initial ruling issued in August 2020, which sentenced to death 16 citizens accused of the aforementioned assassination, including the nine citizens mentioned above.

One of the convicts, Ali Abdo Kazaba, 23, died on 07 August 2021, as a result of complications due to torture he had allegedly been subjected to in court, an allegation that all those convicted in the case reiterated. They stated that confessions were extracted from them, under torture and coercion, which amounted to threats to shoot them, deprivation of sleep for several days, torture by burning, electricity, severe beatings, hanging by a hand and one leg for days, and standing on one leg.

The human rights lawyer who is the defense lawyer for the convicted, Abdulmajeed Sabra, confirmed in press statements that, "the conditions of integrity are completely absent in this case, as the defendants were treated as convicts from the moment of their arrest, and evidence of this is their enforced disappearance for more than six months and the physical and psychological torture to which they were subjected."

Ongoing human rights violations

Late on the night of 13 September 2021, a security force stormed the home of human rights defender Amatullah Al-Hammadi in the city of Marib and arrested her. Local reports confirmed that she is still being held in a prison belonging to the Political Security Agency in Marib Governorate, which is affiliated with the government of President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

Although security sources claimed that her arrest was ordered by the Public Prosecution due to a case against her, local observers confirmed that her detention in the Political Security prison confirms their fears that she is being targeted because of her peaceful human rights work.

Al-Hammadi uses her Facebook page, which has more than 8,000 followers, to publish her personal opinions and defend the civil and human rights of women and children. On 02 January 2021, she wrote a post about the danger of waste resulting from the operations of oil companies that bury it in the ground, and said that, "this is a flagrant violation of the Yemeni Environmental Protection Law and international environmental agreements ratified by our country."

On the same day, the security authorities arrested human rights lawyer Saleem Allaw in the city of Marib and also placed him in a prison at the Political Security Agency in Marib governorate. Local sources confirmed to GCHR that his arrest is related to his peaceful human rights activities. GCHR has documented his previous detention in March 2020, which lasted for 20 days.

Allaw uses his Facebook page, which has more than 41,000 followers, to express his views and fight corruption. On 11 September 2021, he published a post in which he included the following, "An official who turns into a businessman, he or one of his sons after assuming any position, is corrupt."

GCHR condemns in the strongest terms the execution of nine citizens after trials that lacked minimum international standards for fair trial and legal procedures. GCHR calls on the de facto government in Sana'a, the Houthi group, to cancel all sentences of the remaining sixteen convicts and other prisoners of conscience.

GCHR calls on all parties to the conflict in Yemen to release all prisoners of conscience, including human rights defender Amatullah Al-Hammadi and human rights lawyer Saleem Allaw.

All parties to the conflict should ensure, in all circumstances, that all human rights defenders and journalists in Yemen are able to carry out their legitimate human rights work without fear of reprisals and without restrictions, including judicial harassment.