Yemen: Woman human rights defender remains arbitrarily detained; and 10 children killed by contaminated medicine

10.01.23

The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) calls for the release of a woman human rights defender arbitrarily detained since August 2022, and for authorities to investigate the use of contaminated medicine that led to the death of 10 children in Yemen.

Woman human rights defender remains arbitrarily detained

The Yemeni Security and Intelligence Service continues to arbitrarily detain 35-year-old human rights defender Fatima Saleh Al-Arwali, head of Al-Habitat Organisation for Human Rights Development, and prevent her from contacting her family or receiving visits by them.

On 14 August 2022, Al-Arwali was arrested at Al-Hawban checkpoint while she was traveling from the capital, Sana’a, to the city of Aden, based on an order for her arrest issued by the Security and Intelligence Service, which has detained her in its prison since then and isolated her from the outside world.

In an request submitted on her behalf by prominent human rights lawyer, Abdulmajeed Sabra, on 18 December 2022, he requested that she be allowed visits and contact with her family members. In his request, he also stated that preventing contact is inconsistent with the Yemeni constitution and the Prisons Law, and stated that, "This constitutes a violation of legal texts... and is a violation of her dignity and freedom."

In another request submitted on 29 November 2022, Sabra asked the Specialised Criminal Prosecution to issue an explicit order to the Security and Intelligence Service to release Al-Arwali, as there is no legal means to imprison her.

Despite this, the Specialised Criminal Prosecutor asked the Security and Intelligence Service, in a letter dated 03 December 2022, to present her before him with the mechanisms of her case instead of demanding her release.

Children died and others injured due to cotaminated  medicine

On 03 January 2023, the West Municipality Court in Sana'a, which is a court of first instance, held its third session to consider the case of the death of ten children, who were leukemia patients, and the injury of 11 others, due to the smuggling of a group of unauthorised contaminated medicines by the head of the Supreme Authority for Medicines and some of his employees, in addition to other persons. Unregistered drugs, including methotrexate, were used to treat sick children, resulting in their death or injury.

The mother of one of the child victims wrote under his picture while he was receiving the contaminated treatment,, "A farewell look... I will no longer see this look from you."

Recommendations

The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) calls for the immediate and unconditional release of woman human rights defender Fatima Saleh Al-Arwali, and for her to be able to contact her family. The de facto government in Sana’a, the Houthi group, should thoroughly invistigate the use of contaminated medicine that led to the death of 10 children in Yemen in addition to the injury of 11 others, and to hold those responsible accountable, thus providing some measure of justice to their families.