SAM Organization for Rights and Liberties, Geneva, follows with great concern the deteriorating human rights situation in Yemen, during the bloodiest conflict in Sana’a city, in the past two days, following the armed confrontations between Houthis militia and Peoples’ General Congress forces loyal to ex-president Saleh, where tanks and heavy weapons were used, in the residential areas.
The fighting erupted between the two parties around government facilities, camps and PGC’s leaders’ houses, and extended to other governorates, including Khamir, Amran, and intermittent confrontations in Al-Mahwet, Hajjah, Dhamar and Al-Baidha.
The fighting ended after the death of the former president and some of his relatives by the Houthis. Houthis fighters raided Saleh house following clashes with his guards, and broadcasted a video claiming that Saleh was killed while in his way to his village in Sanhan, southeast Sana’a. however, SAM could not verify Saleh’s death conditions, despite of many conflicting narratives.
According to reports that SAM received, many military and civil leaders, and Saleh relatives are facing unknown fate, and their relatives are highly concerned that they are killed, as they could not reach them.
Houthis conducted wide abduction campaign against PGC members, while blocking internet and telecommunication in the targeted areas, and violently disbursed women’s protest that demanded release of Saleh’s body.
Tawfiq Al-Humeidi, monitoring officer at SAM said in statement that PGC members in Sana’a are exposed to crimes mount to crimes against humanity, including summary execution, abduction and disappearing of injured, and holding of deceased bodies, of civilians including journalists.
The Houthis imposed a state of terror and fear in all areas of their control, where SAM has documented several instances of break-ins at PGC houses in Sana’a, Al-Mahwet, Amran Hajjah, and Sanhan, as well at neighbouring houses to Saleh’s, where unarmed civilians were killed. Many of PGC leaders’ fate is unknown by the time of this statement.
SAM has received reports on detention of 41 journalists and employees at Yemen Today channel and FM radio station that Houthis has attacked, and refused to release them. Yemeni Journalists Syndicate, confirmed in its 5 December statement that Al-Motamer net, Al-Mithaq net, Al-Methaq mobile, Khabar website, and Sada electronic journal websites affiliated to the PGC were blocked, in addition to other websites.
SAM organization also documented hate incitement speech by Houthis members at the social media, calling to kill their political opponents, as well as audio recordings by Houthis radio and via their social media threatening their opponents.
Also reports indicated that trucks loaded of civilians were seen entering the central prison in Sana’a and other prisons outside the city. Also, witnesses reported to SAM that Houthis has abducted many women and led them to unknown place.
Houthis must immediately stop this campaign of intimidation against their opponents, release all detainees, and hand over deceased president’s body to his family, return abducted injured to the hospital, and to refrain from hunting down civilians and PGC members.
SAM also urged to undertake immediate measures to compensate affected civilians whose properties sustained damages due to the military operations they’ve conducted to attack ex-president’s and his relative’s houses.
SAM Organization for Rights and Liberties
Geneva, 7 December 2017