17 May 2016

Yemen: Release of Human Rights Activist by Houthi-Saleh Coalition after 211 days of Detention

Antar Al Mabarizi and daughter Antar Al Mabarizi and daughter

After 211 days of detention and torture, the Houthi-Saleh Coalition has finally released Yemeni human rights activist Antar Al Mabarizi. In October 2015, Al Mabarizi, along with 28 other activists and journalists, was arrested at a meeting for the planning of a march requesting authorities to provide the besieged city of Taiz with drinking water.

The majority of the group had been released after a few days, while six people, who were believed to be the main organizers, including Al Mabarizi, remained in incommunicado detention at the Political Security Prison, currently controlled by the Houthi-Saleh Coalition.

Alkarama had urged the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) to request the Houthi Saleh Coalition to immediately release the activists and to allow both their families and lawyers to visit them. Another four of the six remaining men in custody were released in November 2015, while Al Mabarizi remained in incommunicado detention along with his colleague Amine Al Chafaq. Alkarama appeals to the Houthi-Saleh Coalition to immediately release Amine Al Chafaq who remains detained to this day.

One of the 23 people originally released described the detention conditions as "very harsh" saying that: "We didn't have enough food, the cells were overcrowded and we were only allowed to use the bathroom three times a day which forced us to use bottles for relief outside these allocated times." Alkarama's legal director Rachid Mesli reiterated his concern regarding the situation in Yemen confirming that: "the inhumane treatment of prisoners and practice of enforced disappearances may constitute crimes against humanity if proved to be exercised in a widespread and systematic manner".

Alkarama also calls upon all parties in Yemen, governmental and non-governmental to respect international human rights law and treat all persons in a humane way, to refrain from detaining people in secret or in solitary confinement, to release all those detained for exercising their right to freedom of speech, to refrain from retaliation against pacific activists and to prosecute all those responsible for committing human rights violations.

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