Yemen: 3 Men Arrested by Houthi-Saleh Coalition for Criticising Group's Policies

Between 20 and 30 October 2015, Alkarama sent an urgent appeal the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) as well as two urgent appeals to the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) regarding the cases of three Yemeni citizens unlawfully arrested by the Houthi-Saleh Coalition for criticising the group's policies.

Early afternoon on 4 April 2015, a dozen men from the Houthi-Saleh Coalition dressed in civilian clothes and military uniforms stormed into the house of 57-year-old Mohamed Qahtan in Sana'a and arrested him, taking him to an unknown location. Before his abduction, Mohamed had already been put under house arrest by the Houthi-Saleh Coalition for belonging to the Islah opposition party.

Four months later, on 5 August 2015, a dozen men in civilian clothes led by Akram Al Gunaid – a well known Houthi leader – stormed into the house of 66-year-old human rights activist Abdulkader Al Gunaid and arrested him, dragging him out of the house while he was still barefoot and taking him to an unknown location. Known for expressing his opinion on the Yemeni crisis on social media, Al Gunaid was able to post one last tweet before being arrest, which reads "Houthi militiamen are in my house."

Later in August, a group of men from the Houthi-Saleh Coalition dressed in civilian clothes and military uniforms stormed into the office of 29-year-old journalist Salah Mohamed Ahmed Al Qaedi's cousin and arrested him and seven of his colleagues. While they were later released, Al Qaedi was sent to the Jadiri Police Station in Sana'a where he remains detained to this day, subjected to torture and ill-treatment including food and water deprivation and severe beating. His family is no longer able to visit him either, as they were prohibited from doing so following the publication of news of his arrest in the media, and hasn't heard from him since.

After their abduction, the three men's families reached out to members of the Houthi-Saleh Coalition to ask for their release, including through a "Judicial Commission" set up by the group, but to no avail. Left with no other resort at the national level, the families contacted Alkarama in the hope that the organisation could help release their relatives. In view of these facts, Alkarama seized the UN Working Groups on arbitrary detention and enforced disappearances, the WGAD and WGEID, asking the two special procedures on human rights to request the Houthi-Saleh Coalition to release the three men immediately.

"We are extremely concerned at the generalisation of the practice of abduction and secret detention of activists and all oppositional voices by Houthi-Saleh forces," said Radidja Nemar, Regional Legal Officer for the Gulf at Alkarama "all parties must treat persons under their control humanely and these recurring violations should stop."

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