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Houthi Prisons... Unsupervised Torture

"Houthi Prisons... Unsupervised Torture" is a new report issued by Maat for Peace

Okeil: Hundreds of thousands of violations have been committed by the Houthis throughout the past five years

aMaat for Peace, Development, and Human Rights released a new report entitled “Houthi Prisons... Unsupervised Torture.” The report highlighted, among other things, the conditions of the prisons under the Houthis control and the various forms of ill-treatment and torture that a wide range of detainees are subjected to inside these prisons, based on the testimonies of some detainees, who were released under an UN-brokered prisoner exchange agreement, signed on October 15, 2020, between the Houthi militia and the legitimate government, especially in light of the absence of supervision over these prisons in Houthi areas.

The report is released within the framework of the campaign launched by Maat on March 13, under the title “Stop the War in Yemen” and which will continue for a week, with the aim of shedding some light on the violations of human rights in Yemen, as well as drawing the attention of the international community to the heinous violations and unspeakable crimes committed by the Houthi terrorist militia. Through the report, Maat also calls on the international community to put pressure on all parties to the conflict to stop the war, which is turning seven years old, in light of the absence of indications heralding the looming end of the war.

The report indicated that international human rights standards and international humanitarian law guarantee protection for detainees, whether in normal circumstances or in times of armed conflicts. This protection includes the prohibition of torture, physical or psychological punishment, prolonged solitary confinement, and other degrading treatment. Above all, they guarantee the right of detainees to a fair trial as well as the right to have a lawyer, in addition to the absolute necessity to improve prison conditions and monitor detention centers.

The report also confirmed the existence of more than 500 prisons supervised by the Houthi militia in the governorates under their control, including 75 official prisons and approximately 425 secret prisons. The Houthis use educational facilities such as schools, and universities, and residential buildings as secret centers where they keep the arbitrarily detained persons. These serving-as-prison places are neither subject to regulatory laws nor any kind of monitoring. Rather, all violations are practiced in full view of the security leaders in the Ministry of Interior in the unrecognized government of Sana'a, and under the direction of the Minister of Interior, Abdul Karim Amir al-Din al-Houthi, who assigns by himself some prison supervisors to torture political opposition and human rights defenders.

For his part, Ayman Okeil, president of the Maat, said that the international community’s continued disregard for the violations committed by the Houthi militia in Yemen opens the door wide for more arbitrary practices against unarmed civilians, including women, children, and opposition figures, who were unjustly and arbitrarily imprisoned and severely tortured, which is inconsistent with international human rights law, as well as the principles of international humanitarian law, which require all parties to armed conflicts to spare civilians from the atrocities of war.

Okeil indicated that the Houthi militia has committed nearly 100,000 human rights violations over the last five years. These violations are topped by the severe torture and the cruel and degrading treatment inside the prisons under the Houthis supervision, as well as the illegal arrest and the arbitrary detention of civilians. These violations may amount to murder in many cases.

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