#AceNewsReport – Feb.11: The presence of Yemen’s ancient Jewish community is all but over, with the Houthis’ insistence on deporting the last two families left in Sana’a. The militia has also deported the leaders of the Baha’i sect, while continuing to prosecute 19 members, despite its claim last year that it would pardon them after four years of detentions:
‘Yemeni Christian priest detained, tortured by Houthis for four years: The 50-year-old priest has been imprisoned by the group’s intelligence services for four years, as part of a campaign of arrests launched by the group agains the estimated 2,000 Christians in territory it controls’ two of Khalidi’s friends told Asharq Al-Awsat,
February 09, 2021 22:16
Sources in the Sana’a told Asharq Al-Awsat daily that the Houthi militia specifically targeted Yemeni Christians and arrested many of them, including Khalidi, a convert, who was allegedly subjected to torture in prison. Houthi intelligence continues to investigate others whose religious beliefs have not yet been disclosed, especially since most of the Yemeni converts to Christianity have already left the country.
Khalidi’s family have avoided talking about his imprisonment for fear of repercussions against him, but one former prisoner, recently released from a Houthi jail, told Asharq Al-Awsat that he met Khalidi and others in detention, and said that the priest was arrested after the militia took control of Sana’a, saying his jailers kept him in solitary confinement for weeks at a time: He added that other Christian prisoners had been forced to recant their religious beliefs under torture:
Two of Khalidi’s friends told Asharq Al-Awsat, on condition of anonymity, that he converted to Christianity in the mid-1990s, and that the Yemeni Christian community, having previously performed religious rituals secretly in various locations in Sana’a, Taiz and Ibb, and mostly fled to Lebanon, Cyprus and elsewhere since the outbreak of war: According to these sources, the Khalidi’s wife and his five children currently live in a rented apartment in Sana’a, and they live in fear for their lives because of the Houthi’s intolerance of other religions:
The sources say that a Houthi leader called Khaled Al-Madani handles the file of what the group describes as “manifestations of Westernization,” and his duties include, in addition to prosecuting followers of other religions, controlling the nature of work women are permitted to carry out, the regulations on wearing clothes, and gender-mixing in universities and institutes:
The Baha’i International Community issued a statement saying Houthi authorities continue to harass the minority in Yemen, terrorizing them, endangering their lives and seizing their property, citing the case of the 19 members of the sect currently on trial: “ What is happening to these 19 people is outrageous, but it has become very familiar to us,” said Diane Alaei, the representative of the Baha’i International Community to the UN in Geneva, referring to a previous case of six Yemeni Bahai’s imprisoned between 2013 and 2017, who were freed after a UN-backed campaign led to them being released, but then deported and classed as “fugitives.”
Yemen: Huthi-run court sentences 30 political opposition figures to death following sham trial
9 July 2019, 19:25 UTC
Thirty academics and political figures facing trumped-up charges, including espionage for the Saudi Arabia-led Coalition, were sentenced to death by the Sana’a-based Huthi-run Specialized Criminal Court (SCC) following a fundamentally flawed legal process, said Amnesty International.
This trial was a mockery of justice and only confirms how the judiciary, and the SCC in particular, is turning into a tool of repression, evidently incapable of dispensing impartial justice.
Out of 36 individuals who were on trial, 30 were handed down death sentences. Amongst those is Youssef al-Bawab, a 45-year-old father of five and linguistics professor and political figure, who was arbitrarily arrested in late 2016. He was charged in April 2017, alongside 35 others, with several offences carrying the death penalty. Throughout his detention, proceedings against him and others in the same case were seriously flawed, and included enforced disappearance, excessive pre-trial detention, undue delays in his trial, incommunicado detention, allegations of torture and other ill-treatment and lack of access to legal counsel and medical care.
“This trial was a mockery of justice and only confirms how the judiciary, and the SCC in particular, is turning into a tool of repression, evidently incapable of dispensing impartial justice. Since the Huthi de facto authorities assumed control of the justice system in 2015, they have progressively utilized the Sana’a-based SCC to target persons they deem to be opponents or even just critics,” said Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East Director of Research.
Today thirty individuals, and all of their loved ones, are bracing for what is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment, and handed down following such flagrantly unfair trials
“Today thirty individuals, and all of their loved ones, are bracing for what is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment, and handed down following such flagrantly unfair trials. We call on the Huthi de facto authorities to quash these unjust convictions and brutal sentences and release the 30 men immediately.”
As Yemen’s armed conflict rages on, the grossly unfair trial of all these defendants is part of a wider pattern of the judiciary being used to settle political scores
According to witnesses present at the court session and to the surprise of the legal defense team, the judge speedily read out the charges on which they were convicted, most of which carry a mandatory death sentence under Yemeni Criminal Law, in the presence of the detainees, their families and lawyer, before formally sentencing 30 to death and acquitting and releasing six others.
“As Yemen’s armed conflict rages on, the grossly unfair trial of all these defendants is part of a wider pattern of the judiciary being used to settle political scores,” said Lynn Maalouf.
On the same day, Asmaa al-Omeissy, a 23-year-old mother of two, was handed a 15-year prison sentence after being convicted of aiding an enemy state. Amnesty International further calls on the Huthi de facto authorities to quash her conviction and sentence and release her immediately.
Amnesty International has documented the increased use of the SCC in targeting religious minorities. In September 2018, 24 Yemenis from the Baha’i faith – including eight women and a child – were accused of charges that carry the death penalty by the Huthi-controlled SCC. Currently, Hamid Haydara is also being tried by the SCC for his conscientiously-held beliefs. Amnesty International and other organizations have repeatedly called on the Huthis to immediately quash the death sentence against Hamid Haydara.
All parties to the conflict, including Huthi forces, the Yemeni government, the Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (UAE)-led coalition and UAE-backed Yemeni forces have engaged in arbitrary detention practices. In areas under their control, Huthi forces have arbitrarily arrested and detained critics and opponents as well as journalists, human rights defenders and members of the Baha’i community, subjecting scores to unfair trials, incommunicado detention and enforced disappearance. The majority of those targeted have been leaders, members or supporters of the political party al-Islah. The internationally recognized Yemeni government has harassed, threatened and arbitrarily detained human rights defenders and other activists. Meanwhile, UAE-backed Yemeni forces in southern Yemen conducted a campaign of arbitrary detentions and enforced disappearances. In May 2018, Amnesty International published a report detailing the cases of 51 men held in a network of secret prisons by UAE and Yemeni forces operating outside the command of Yemen’s government, including individuals detained between March 2016 and May 2018.
#AceNewsDesk report …………Published: Feb.11:2021:
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