Taiz - Muhammad Farhan
Since he was released from prison in 2018 where he had been put for more than a year in al-Khouhka city south of Al-Hodeidah governorate, which is administratively affiliated to the governorate, Fathi al-Ghulaysi (46 years old) is no longer the same man he was before entering prison. He has lost his health and is unable to work.
Al Ghulaysi says, recounting his suffering, "Most of my days, I stay at home unable to move, nor can I work or support my family since I got out of prison."
He has a problem in the spine and a herniated disc, which the medical reports described as dangerous according to the CT scan as it is a slip between the fourth and fifth vertebrae.
Every day his health condition deteriorates and he spends most of the time in his home in the city of Al-Khoukha, burdened with painful memories of torture and the ugliness of inhumane treatment as he spent more than a year away from his family and moving from one cell to another. Al-Ghulaysi also says that he had lived days of terror and fear since the beginning of his arrest on 2-21-2017 in a terrifying way from his workplace in a honey shop.
Al-Ghulaysi describes that day, “they took me blindfolded to a prison belonging to the group in the city. During my stay in prison, they were interrogating me continuously, and most of the interrogation was taking place in the middle of the night where I was violently awakened as if they were dealing with an animal.”
In his testimonies, he recounts frightening methods of torture that were practiced against him and all the prisoners who were with him as he confirms that he was taken to the interrogation room and his shirt was removed and placed over his eyes, and many charges were brought against him. According to Al-Ghulaysi, the beating was severe and non-stop with batons on his stomach and back.”
One day, Al-Ghulaysi says that he was interrogated, and during the interrogation he heard the sounds of coalition aircraft hovering. This was similar to psychological torture, as Al-Ghulaysi remained, as he says, for some time after they left. They returned again, and their number was more, and they beat them continuously. This time, as Al-Ghulaysi asserts, the beating was with an iron and was focused on the neck and on the various joints of his legs and hand.
Al-Ghulaysi added that while the beatings continued on him in Hodeidah, he fainted from the severity of the pain. The members of the Houthi group who participated in torturing him tried to spray cold water on his body until he woke up and remained lying on the ground unable to move and without water or food until morning.
According to Fathi Al-Ghulysi, the death threats did not stop during the interrogation by devising brutal and deadly methods of torture.
After a month of staying in a prison in the city of Khoukha and interrogating him each time with different methods of torture, he was taken out at eight in the morning outside the prison yard, and a white cloth resembling a shroud was wrapped over his body. Al Ghulysi “the cloth was wrapped around me so tightly that I couldn’t move my hand or leg and they asked me to confess to things I didn’t do.”
He continues his testimonies saying that they put a cover over his eyes and stopped torturing him while he was in the hot sun. Meanwhile, Al-Ghulaysi says that he heard the voice of someone screaming, mingling with tears and saying, "Don't kill us, don't kill us." A person would respond to him saying, “Confess or else we would kill you.” Al-Ghulaysi was continuing to hear the situation and his heart almost stopped from the horror of the situation and the frightening screaming. Suddenly he heard shooting and the voice of the person who was screaming stopped.
Al-Ghulaysi points out that what happened was a kind of intimidation and psychological torture when he heard someone say we killed him.
It was a terrifying day in which he wished for death while he was lying in the sun from eight in the morning until one in the afternoon, in light of the severe temperature, as is known from the coastal areas in western Yemen from the intense heat of the sunny weather.
Al Ghulaysi says, “I almost died of thirst while I was lying in the sun, and no one turned to me or heard my distress.” In this situation, where Al Ghalisi remained between life and death, he was imprisoned and thrown to the ground while he was unable to stand on his feet.
Al-Ghulaysi was transferred to a prison in the city of Zabid, which is supervised by a person named Abu Ahmed from Hajjah Governorate, and he was telling him, “You will die by torture.” Painful memories that still represent a frightening nightmare for Al-Ghulaysi, which made him psychological scars that turned his life into darkness.
While he was in Zabid prison, a rural district in the south of Al-Hodeidah Governorate, Al-Ghulaysi remembered being repeatedly tortured by being taken out under the heat of the sun in a very hot and humid summer.
Some of the methods of torture that were practiced with him in prison in Zabid, Fathi Al-Ghulaysi says, “was tortured at night. I was taken out of prison to a cemetery close to the prison, me and others of course who want to intimidate them. They took me to the cemetery at night around 10 and put me next to a 2-meter-long hole and they beat me with a whip on my feet and a whip head covered with plastic and iron wires inside so that my feet would cut and blood would flow for at least an hour with verbal insults and abuses to me and my parents. In one of the horrific and frightening times of torture, Al-Ghulysi almost died, according to his expression, describing what happened as he was placed in a deep hole on his head and legs up, which is a narrow place where a person cannot breathe. "I was screaming and begging them and they started beating me continuously on my feet and they took me out and then I remained for about a month unable to walk after my feet swollen," he added.
Months of inhuman treatment that Al-Ghulaysi lived through, moving from one prison to another, until his torture journey ended in the Houthi group’s prison in the city of Al-Hodeidah, where a new journey of torture, deprivation and ill-treatment starts.
During his arrest in the Houthi prison in Zabid city, many people tried to communicate with the prison administration in order to get him out to visit his sister who was sick on her deathbed, but prison officials denied that he was in prison and his sister died, he says, while he was in prison and was unable to visit her.
Every day, his health condition deteriorates. The conditions inside the prison were miserable, and Al-Ghulaysi was forced, according to his testimonies, to drink unsafe drinking water, in addition to the lack of hygiene inside the prison and the spread of various insects.
One of the most severe types of torture he was subjected to in the prisons of the Houthi group in Hodeidah was electrocution, and he explains this saying, “I was being electrocuted while my hands and feet were tied and my eyes were blindfolded. They would plug my toes and I would get electrocuted and screamed as they shouted their own scream “sarkha”.” I watched death for about two minutes. Then they electrocuted me 6 times and put a plastic bag in my mouth, and every time they stopped electrocuting, they beat me with batons on my back and my joints without mercy until sunset. After that, take me back to the prison room and threaten me with torture." The elements of the Houthi group, which supervised the prison of Fathi Al-Ghalisi, were not satisfied with torturing him and depriving his family of visiting him, but also drained all his family’s savings by promising them to release him in exchange for sums of money.
He continues, "I later learned from my family that they had sold everything and had used up all their savings, including his wife's gold, and they gave this money to people loyal to the Houthi group who promised to get me out of prison."
The last place he was imprisoned was the Criminal Investigation Prison in the city of Hodeidah, which witnessed dozens of cases of torture and electrocution. Some prisoners died during torture. Days and nights, Al-Ghulaysi was constantly experiencing details of death, and he was haunted by longing mixed with crying over his children and his wife, for whom he was the only breadwinner, and without him they would be lost.
Al-Ghulaysi is now paralyzed. He is unable to work and resume his life as it was. The effects of torture still touch his body with pain and force him to stay in his home burdened with heartbreak, pain and poverty. The x-rays he did in a specialized radiology center in the city of Aden, as well as medical reports, including the report of the specialized doctor treating at Al-Wali Hospital in Al-Mansour District, Aden, confirmed that he needs an urgent surgery abroad to remove the slip and take the necessary and intensive treatments according to a medical report from the Republic Hospital Authority in Aden.
Al-Ghulaysi did not find someone to help him support his children. He is in urgent need of treatment and recovery. Will he find someone to save him from illness to bring him back to work and life as he once was?
HETE, download the medical reports