Police arrest human rights activist in Amran

2 Dec
Government soldiers arrested two family members and a human rights activist in Sa’ada on Wednesday in connection with the arrest of 25 Zaidis on Nov.26Malak ShaherPublished:02-12-2010

SANA’A, Dec.1 — Human rights activist Mohammad Al-Moayad was detained by police in Amran yesterday when he went to the police station to enquire why Zaidis were arrested last Friday.Police arrested at least 25 Zaidis on Friday when they commemorated Al-Ghadeer day, a Shiite religious ceremony. Al-Moayad is a member of the Yemeni Democratic Organization for Defending Human Rights that had obtained permission from the Supreme Court to investigate police charges against the Zaidis.

Ali Al-Dailami, head of the human rights organization, told the Yemen Times yesterday that they “went to Amran security office to find out why Zaidis were arrested when they were celebrating Al-Ghadeer day.

“We were astonished when the head of the security office came out angrily and threw stones at us. After that Al-Moayad and two of the detainees relatives were arrested,” said Al-Dailami.

He said that although those arrested on Friday shared the same Islamic affiliation to the Zaidi sect, this did not necessarily mean that they had any connection with the Houthis.

Abdulsalam Al-Makhethi, 31, said that his 60-year-old father and brother were also arrested. He said that his brother was taken into custody when he went to the police station to ask about their father.

“They have nothing to do with the Houthis. They were arrested without committing any crime. My father is a Zaidi imam and was dancing on the celebration day,” said Al-Makhethi.

The Yemen Times contacted the head of the state prosecution but he said that he was not allowed to reveal any information on the incident.

The Yemeni Democratic Organization for Defending Human Rights this week condemned the arrest of unarmed people who were participating in religious events.

Ali Al-Assi, a lawyer with the human rights organization, said that the government’s reaction to the Houthis was not solving the conflict.

“Unfortunately, the more the government exaggerates its security precautions and arrests people just to be ‘safe’, the more these people eventually turn out to help Houthis in their war against the goverment,” said Al-Assi.

The Yemeni government has been at war with Houthis since 2004 when the rebel group declared they wanted an independent state in Sa’ada.

Al-Dailami said that the Houthis were a minority of only 200 persons in 2004 but more people were joining their cause.

Violence in Sa’ada has escalated since Nov. 15 when clashes between pro-government tribes and Houthis erupted. At least 26 people were killed and another 12 were injured.


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