Houthi militias announced Monday the release of dozens of supporters of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sana'a as they held onto acts of repression against Saleh’s loyalists in more than one province.
While the group spread news that it will release all detainees, it said that it will not set free Saleh's relatives any time soon, which observers considered an attempt by the group to use them as a pressure card on the party’s leaders in Sana'a and the relatives of the former president abroad.
The Houthi version of Saba news agency said that the group has released 197 of Saleh’s supporters, who had been held in the Sana’a central prison.
It added that the last process was preceded by the release of 30 others - whom it described as "participants in the December sedition” - in the city of Amran (north of Sana’a).
The Houthi militias leaked statements to the media in Sana'a, in which they promised to release all the members of the General People’s Congress (GPC) party who participated in the uprising against the insurgents in the early days of December, excluding Saleh's relatives.
On the other hand, a Houthi court in Sana'a sentenced lawyer of Saleh Mohammed al-Masuri to prison in absentia and fined him one million riyals in retaliation to the Houthis’ opponents.
Earlier, Masuri managed to escape from Sana’a along with media and military leaders loyal to the former president, reaching areas controlled by the legitimate government.
Despite the general amnesty decision issued by the Houthis to supporters of the former president, the insurgents continued to harass GPC members and Saleh loyalists, raid their homes and loot their money.
Party sources in Sana'a reported that the Houthis abducted the head of operations of the special security forces, Col. Nasser al-Shawthabi, and took him to an unknown location.
Furthermore, they arrested head of the missile guidance division in the Republican Guard Abdul Elah Ata after storming his village in the Khawlan tribal area south of Sana’a.
Five Saleh supporters in the Huth district of Amran governorate (north of Sana’a), including the director of the Huth Directorate, the director of security there and the head of the party's branch in the same directorate were also detained, according to the sources.