Reports & News

Fri - 24 Apr 2020 - 11:02 AM ،،،

thenational


 A UK minister has called for a Briton in a Houthi jail in Yemen to be freed as part of a release of political prisoners in the run up to Ramadan.

Luke Symons has been held since 2017 and accused of spying for the UK but he has never been put on trial.

Foreign office minister James Cleverly said it was more important than ever to release him because of the risk of coronavirus.

“As Ramadan approaches, we urge the Houthis to release all political prisoners now,” he said in a tweet.

“This must include Luke Symons, a British national illegally detained in Yemen since 2017. Given the risks of coronavirus, it is more important than ever that Luke is reunited with his family.”

He also cited the promise by Houthis last month to free Baha'i prisoners including Hamid bin Haydara who was arrested on December 2013 and was described as a “destroyer of Islam and religion".

“Almost a month has passed and they are still not free,” said the minister.

Mr Symons, originally from Cardiff, Wales, moved to Yemen after converting to Islam and was teaching as war in the country intensified.

He was arrested at a security checkpoint in the capital in April 2017 after several failed attempts to leave the country with his Yemeni wife and their young son to escape the fighting.

He was only detained because he was carrying a British passport when he was stopped, his family says.

An investigation found no evidence that Mr Symons was involved in espionage, according to a document signed by a member of the Houthis’ top decision-making body.