Geneva - SAM Organization for Rights and Liberties has expressed its total rejection and absolute condemnation of the practices of the Houthi group against female detainees, represented in depriving them of their basic rights and subjecting them to practices that detract from their dignity. Moreover, the female detainees were threatened by a prison official not to be released until after their death. “SAM” stressed that these practices violate the rights and dignity of female prisoners, which are guaranteed to them by both international law and Yemeni law in its constitution.
In a statement issued today, Monday, the organization indicated its extreme astonishment and concern at the testimonies received about the prisoner, "Asma’a Mater Al-Omeisy," along with other prisoners, who were threatened by the prison official called "Om al-Karrar al-Marouni," that they would not leave prison except through funerals. Additionally, the female detainees were verbally insulted and cursed by the aforementioned prison official.
"SAM" stated that it followed up the information posted by the lawyer of the detainee, "Asma’a Al-Omeisy" about her health condition where he confirmed that her health condition deteriorated and she suffered from a number of diseases, including diseases specific to women, such as lupus erythematosus. She also suffers from cysts that need to be removed, according to the medical reports posted by the lawyer, "Abdul Majeed Sabra" on his Facebook page. These medical reports showed that her blood rate had reached (6), which is a very low and dangerous rate that constitutes a real threat to her life. He also pointed out on his Facebook page that "I mentioned this to the Specialized Criminal Appeal Division in its session held on December 6, 2022, yet that percentage remains the same until this time."
According to Al-Omeisy's lawyer, the detainee "Asma’a" had a medical report from the prison infirmary that was previously issued on 07/28/2022, which showed the seriousness of her health condition and the necessity of presenting her to a specialized center for women to be treated there on a regular basis, especially since she suffers from frequent bleeding that leads to dizziness and exhaustion and has begun to affect the heart. She also suffers from ovarian cysts. Although the Specialized Appeal Criminal Division had directed her to be treated in a specialized hospital accompanied by the necessary guards, this order was not implemented, according to the lawyer.
"SAM" indicated that "Asma’a" was arrested on 07/10/2016, accompanied by "Saeed Mahfouz Al-Ruwaishid", "Ahmed Saleh Bawazir" and her father, "Mater Muhammad Al-Omeisy", at the Capital Municipality Investigations. Then they were referred to the specialized criminal prosecution and interrogated. After the end of the investigation, the three men were released while Asma’a remained alone in prison.
According to what the lawyer said, "the member of the First Instance Prosecution concluded, after the investigation, that the detainee Asma’a Al-Omeisy did not commit the crime of aiding aggression and there was no evidence that she joined the UAE Armed Forces, and thus it issued a decision that (there is no grounds for filing a case)." With regard to the charge of snitching on her husband (Khaled Al-Sayari), the investigating prosecutor explained that this act, even if it actually occurred from her, does not constitute a crime in both Yemeni and international law, given that her husband was the second in command in Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. It is known that Al-Qaeda is an internationally criminal terrorist organization. Therefore, he decided to release her on bail and refer her case to the West Al-Amana Court on charges of indecent act only on the 4th of the year 2017. However, the Appeal Prosecution Office disagreed with that opinion and Asma’a was charged with aiding aggression as she joined the UAE Armed Forces and did not bring her to trial on the second charge of snitching on her husband since he is from Al Qaeda.
The organization highlighted that "Asma’a" was tried on charges of aiding aggression due to her joining the UAE armed forces. The Specialized Criminal Court of First Instance issued its ruling on 01/30/2018, which ruled that she would be executed as a discretionary measure. The lawyer confirmed that he had appealed the verdict, and the Division issued its verdict on 09/07/2019, which convicted her of aiding aggression due to her joining the UAE Armed Forces and sentenced her to 15 years in prison. The ruling was appealed, and the Supreme Court issued its ruling on 06/13/2021, which decided to cancel the previous rulings, especially since the Specialized Appeal Criminal Division had stated in its reasons that there was no evidence of her joining the UAE Armed Forces.
However, the surprising thing, according to Asmaa's lawyer, is "the conduct of the Specialized Appeal Criminal Division in the trial of Asma’a Al-Omeisy after the file was returned to it from the Supreme Court despite the annulment of its previous ruling where the original was to issue a verdict of her innocence after it was proven that the court had no evidence of Asma’a joining the UAE Armed Forces.
However, it issued its ruling on 06/27/2022, which convicted Asma’a of another charge under the justification of amending the entry and description, which is the charge of aiding the aggression by snitching on her husband, “Al-Sayari”, who is affiliated with to Al-Qaeda organization, and sentenced her to ten years imprisonment. This is the charge which the Public Prosecution office did not accuse her of and considered it not a crime under domestic and international law since Al-Qaeda is an international terrorist organization. Also, her husband is not considered a member of the Yemeni army, and he is wanted by the security forces, not only for Yemen. Furthermore, he is one of the most dangerous terrorist elements wanted internationally.
The lawyer concluded his post by emphasizing that "Asma’a Al-Omeisy" did not want to appeal the verdict again after she despaired of trials and judges and hoped for her release due to her very deteriorating health condition, especially since she had spent more than two-thirds of the term in prison.
For its part, "SAM" expresses its rejection and condemnation of the behavior of the Houthi group in its dealings with detained and abducted women and threatening them by prison officials and directing insults at them. In addition, it condemns the behavior of the judicial authorities affiliated with the Houthi group and their insistence on keeping "Asma’a" in detention despite the Supreme Court's acquittal.
Accordingly, SAM calls on the Houthi group, at the end of its statement, to open a serious investigation into the allegations that were posted, which showed that a prison official threatened the female detainees not to release them until after their death, and they need to bring the perpetrators of violations inside prisons and the corridors of the judiciary to trial. The organization also stressed the importance of the Houthi group releasing all its abductees and working to close all prisons where thousands of people are held without legal charges.