Houthi Court's Verdict to Execute Activist Fatima Al-Arwali Mocks Justice
  • 06/12/2023
  •  https://samrl.org/l?e5089 
    SAM |

    Geneva - SAM Organization for Rights and Liberties stated that the Special Criminal Court in Sana'a, which is controlled by the Houthis, issued a death sentence today, Tuesday, December 5, 2023, against activist "Fatima Al-Arwali" on fabricated charges, including spying with the countries of aggression, such as the United Arab Emirates, based on legal procedures that are marred by fundamental and serious flaws.

    Tawfiq Al-Hamidi stated that activist "Al-Arwali" was sentenced without having a lawyer to defend her, in a court that has turned into a tool of punishment and revenge. Since the Houthi group seized control of the capital Sana'a, the court has issued more than 500 judgments against political opponents. Some of these trials lasted no more than seven minutes, which indicates a contempt for justice and confirms the Houthis' intention to turn the courts into military barracks dressed in judicial attire for the purpose of repression, intimidation of opponents, and confiscation of their properties.

    Fatima Al-Arwali is a social activist who heads the Moa'al Development Organization for Human Rights and serves as the Chairperson of the Arab Women Leaders Office in Yemen, affiliated with the Arab League. She works in the humanitarian field. On August 13, 2022, Al-Arwali was detained by individuals affiliated with the Houthi group at a checkpoint in the Al-Hoban area in Taiz Governorate. The Houthis forcibly concealed her for approximately eight months. Her family searched for her in every police station and prison in Sana'a until they learned that she was being held in isolation from the outside world at a detention center under the control of the Security and Intelligence Agency in Sana'a since her arrest and for a period of eight months.

    On July 31, 2023, prosecutors affiliated with the Houthi group accused Fatima Al-Arwali of aiding the "aggression of the United Arab Emirates" and providing coordinates to uncover the locations of the army and "Popular Committees" affiliated with the Houthis. Her case was referred to the Special Criminal Court.

    Lawyer Abdulmajid Sabra, an activist and lawyer for political detainees in the courts affiliated with the Houthi group in the capital, Sana'a, confirmed that "Al-Arwali was deprived of her basic rights. She was hidden in an underground room and denied legal representation multiple times. Her request to contact her children living outside Yemen or to meet her siblings was rejected. Additionally, she was denied access to her case file, and the situation remained unchanged until she was sentenced to death today."

    He further added, "Through my review of the indictment and the verdict issued by the Special Criminal Court, I have noticed that these charges are based on assumptions and vague formulations that are not supported by any real evidence. It is worth noting that the Houthi group is using the judiciary to legitimize its pursuit of activists, journalists, and human rights defenders."

    The organization affirms that the record of the Houthi group is filled with unlawful persecutions and unjust rulings by the courts affiliated with the group. Hundreds of individuals, including journalists, human rights defenders, political opponents, and members of religious minorities, have been referred to the Special Criminal Court in Sana'a. They have been subjected to unfair trials on false or fabricated charges before this court. Most of them have been prosecuted on charges of espionage, which carries the death penalty under Yemeni law.

    SAM emphasizes that international standards of justice guarantee every person who is arrested or detained, and anyone facing criminal charges, the right to have legal representation of their own choosing. This enables them to protect their rights, prepare their defense, and challenge the legality of their detention. This right serves as a fundamental safeguard against torture and other forms of ill-treatment. However, the actions of the Houthi group clearly reflect their intention to disregard these rights and continue their pursuit of activists and journalists.

    In conclusion, SAM calls on the Houthi group to release activist "Al-Arwali" and all detainees, and to immediately cease their policy of targeting political opponents and using the judiciary as a cover for their unlawful persecutions. SAM reiterates the importance of ensuring that all individuals enjoy their political rights without threat or persecution.

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