Yemen: Gross human rights violations committed at the Central Prison in Sana'a


The Central Prison in the Yemeni capital, Sana'a, is the site of gross violations of the civil and human rights of its inmates, including women prisoners who require medical treatment. The prison administration has failed to implement any of the provisions contained in the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (Nelson Mandela Rules).

Intisar Al-Hammadi and Yousra Al-Nashiri

On 12 February 2023, the Court of Appeal in Sana'a held a session in which it upheld initial sentences of five years' imprisonment issued against model, actress and fashion model Intisar Abdulrahman Al-Hammadi, and her colleague Yousra Ahmed Al-Nashiri.  

The court lacked the minimum international standards for fair trial and legal procedures, and issued its verdict without discussing the legal notes submitted by the defense team.

Al-Hammadi is still serving her sentence in the Central Prison, where she faces ill-treatment by her jailers. The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) has previously documented that, on 21 July 2022, she was severely beaten by the head of the ward in which she is staying, and another prison official. Al-Nashiri did not attend the court session because she has cancer and remained out of prison to receive the necessary treatment.

On 08 November 2021, the West Capital Municipality Court of First Instance in Sana’a, sentenced Al-Hammadi to five years in prison for alleged prostitution and drug use.

On 12 February 2023, the editor-in-chief of Al-Nidaa newspaper, prominent journalist Sami Ghaleb, wrote an article entitled, "Intisar Al-Hammadi and Loss of Hope in the Judiciary!" He wrote, "The mother of Intisar Al-Hammadi told me that she had completely lost her confidence in the judiciary in Sana'a, and that now there is no one before her except God to do justice to herself and her daughter from the oppression in which she has been living for more than two years."

Hanan Shuei Al-Montaser

On 09 February 2023, prominent human rights lawyer Abdulmajid Sabra published on his Facebook page a distress call to save the life of Hanan Shuei Al-Montaser, a citizen who is being held in the Central Prison, after her mother called him on the evening of the previous day to tell him that Al-Muntaser was suffering from suppuration in the brain and that her body had begun to swell.

On 03 July 2019, Al-Montaser was arrested by individuals affiliated with the General Department for Combating Terrorism in Sana'a, after alleged charges were brought against her, which included "aiding the aggression, communicating with it, and providing it with coordinates." After more than a year and a half of detention, she was referred on 08 March 2021 to the Specialised Criminal Prosecution, which, after interrogation, referred her file on 13 June 2021 to the Criminal Court of First Instance in Sana’a, which is expected to issue its ruling on her case at a later date.


GCHR calls on the de facto government in Sana'a, the Houthi group, to: 

  1. Immediately and unconditionally release actress Intisar Al-Hammadi, and end the persecution of women, including ending the prosecution of women actresses and models, and end to all violations of women’s rights;
  2. Ensure the protection of prisoners from abuse and provide all the necessary medical treatment; and
  3. Implement all the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules).