Reports & News

Thu - 04 Apr 2019 - 01:01 PM ،،،

aawsat


 Shuddering at the memory of brutal torture and separation from her child she suffered under Houthi captivity, Um Salma says she hopes to live to see the day when the plight of Yemenis in militia detention facilities, which she labeled as “hell on earth”, is known to all.

Recounting her story, Um Salma (a pseudonym she asked to use) says that she was arrested back in October at Tahrir Square, a popular gathering spot for protesters in Sanaa, when demonstrating against hunger plaguing most of the city’s residents after Houthi militias, who run the city, failed to pay the salaries of public sector employees.

Um Salma, 35, says she was arrested alongside 15 other Yemeni women while protesting.

Um Salma, an Arabic naming which denotes the Yemeni activist being the mother a child named Salma, says that she and her six-year-old daughter were chanting pro-Yemen slogans at the time of their arrest.

“I plead for the militiamen taking me to leave Salma alone; I then left her with my friend’s driver at the protests, asking him to drive her over to her maternal grandmother,” Um Salma says in an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat.

The 35-year-old mother was held in secret prison close to the Houthi political security building south of Sanaa. As for the reason behind her arrest, Umm Salma says: “There was no clear justification for my arrest with my 15 comrades.”

In stark disregard to the lives of millions of Yemenis who face death, hunger, and disease as a result of the Iran-backed coup, Houthis have claimed protesters were undermining and destabilizing the situation in Sanaa, their stronghold.

Um Salma notes that her brother was killed east of the country in 2018 while fighting among the ranks of the freely-elected government headed by President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi.

“My only crime was my demand for salaries,” she says after being released from her 75-day stay in Houthi dungeons.

According to Yemeni human rights sources, more than 180 Yemeni women have been abducted and detained by Houthi militiamen. Insofar, 55 cases of torture against female prisoners have been confirmed by documented evidence presented by released inmates.

Until this very day, some 120 Yemeni women remain trapped in Houthi prisons and have been the victims of months-long of inhumane torture and exploitation.