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Houthis Accused of Turning Mosques into Detention Centers

Houthis Accused of Turning Mosques into Detention Centers

Tuesday, 26 December, 2017 - 09:00
Houthi rebels parade in Sanaa on December 19, 2017. (Reuters)

A rights group has accused on Monday the Iranian-backed Houthi militia of escalating its violations against members of the General People’s Congress, saying that it has turned several mosques and schools in Yemen into detention centers to imprison opposition figures.

The Geneva-based SAM Rights and Liberties ngo said in a statement that the capital Sanaa witnessed wide violations against political opponents, where hundreds of Islah party members were detained, following the September 21, 2014 coup. A new wave of violations has recently targeted Congress members.

The organization monitored in recent weeks a “considerable escalation” of killings, abductions, lootings and sabotage of private objects.

In addition, it monitored the displacement of dozens of families related to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, following the Houthis’ attack on his house and against his family members earlier this month, in incidents that ended with the killing of Saleh and arrest of his surviving relatives and guards.

Some of the injured were forced out of the hospitals to unknown locations. SAM has documented more than 160 killings and injured whose fate is unknown.

It also documented the partial or total destruction of residences, and stores in Sanaa, including Sam mall and Al-Kumaim mall. However, SAM could not interview the victims, who were either displaced or feared the consequences of delivering their statements. Houthis also prevented the interview of victims or photography of damaged areas, said the statement.

SAM also received testimonies that most of Saleh’s dead followers were transferred to the Economic Corporation mortuary in Aser in western Sanaa. Houthis refused to hand them over to their relatives until they pledged not to hold a funeral and to limit the burial to the family.

On December 3, Houthis stormed the Consultative Hospital in western 60 street and took five of Saleh’s guards to an unknown place, according to verified statements received by SAM.

In the Bani Sera’ village, on the road between Attour and Hajjah in the northwest, SAM documented the killing of seven civilians and execution of four others, including one child, by Houthis this month.

It also witnessed the detention of more than 64 civilians and displacement of 83 families.

On December 3, the Houthis killed Akram Al-Zurqa and seven of his relatives in the city of Hajjah. They then detonated his house and that of his relatives, injuring nearby civilians, witnesses told SAM.

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