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Houthi’s Zeinabeyyat Militia Suppresses and Abuses Yemeni Women

Houthi’s Zeinabeyyat Militia Suppresses and Abuses Yemeni Women

Saturday, 25 September, 2021 - 07:30
Child standing next to Houthi women in Sanaa at an armed gathering. Reuters

The women’s security wing of the Houthis, known as the “Zeinabeyyat”, has expanded its violations against Yemeni women in militia-controlled areas by carrying out a campaign of raids and arrests.

Well-informed sources in Sanaa told Asharq Al-Awsat that the militia raided a number of homes and arrested a group of women, who had previously worked in administrative jobs, whether with the Ministry of Interior or the Political Security Service (intelligence). Those were given the choice between working with the group and facing prison sentences.

The sources stated that the female employees have been out of work for more than ten years, and that their families have received explicit threats from members of the militia intelligence of punishment or the fabrication of immoral charges if they publicly declared these arrests.

Simultaneously, media sources reported that the militia carried out, during the past few days, a campaign of arrests that targeted dozens of women activists, most of whom were affiliated with the General People’s Congress Party, and placed them in secret prisons, where they were subjected to various types of torture.

The sources confirmed that some of the female detainees agreed to work with the militias after they received threats of harming their reputation.

Similarly, women in Sanaa told Asharq Al-Awsat that the militia’s female intelligence service has deployed secret agents in commercial centers, tasked with monitoring women and summoning those wearing “inappropriate clothes” to a special room for interrogation.

In many cases - according to the sources - the detainee pays a sum of money to the supervisor of these teams in exchange for her release and a pledge not to wear unsuitable outfits or use cosmetics.

In the latest incident of repression against women, activists circulated photos of a document, in which residents of the Bani Hashish district (east of Sanaa) pledged to Houthi officials to prevent women from carrying touch-screen mobile phones, using cosmetics, or working with humanitarian organizations.

The latest report of the Yemeni Network for Rights and Freedoms documented 6,476 violations committed by the insurgents against Yemeni women from January 1, 2015 to June 1, 2021, across 19 governorates.

The report accused the Houthis of kidnapping and detaining 770 women in 14 Yemeni governorates during the reporting period, including two foreigners.

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