Reports & News

Odain area of Ibb governorate

Mon - 11 Jan 2021 - 01:16 AM ،،،

 The Iran-backed Houthi militias in Yemen have smuggled the prime suspect in the murder case of Khitam al-Ashary, who was beaten to death in her home in Odain town, located in the central governorate of Ibb, local sources reported.

In an attempt to divert public attention from the murder, the Houthis continued to wage arrest campaigns against citizens and activists in Odain.

Although Houthis announced forming a probe committee to look into Ashary’s death, local sources said that the militias were never serious about holding the perpetrators accountable for their crime.

Gunmen involved in the incident were arrested only to later be secretly transferred outside Ibb.

Desperate attempts to conceal the raging security chaos in Houthi-run areas have failed against the backdrop of reports documenting hikes in crimes such as murder, harassment and suppression of freedoms.

More so, eye witnesses to Ashary’s killing were forced to change their testimonies, local sources told Asharq Al-Awsat. The victim’s family has also doubted the integrity of investigations spearheaded by the Houthis.

Ahmed al-Ashary, the victim’s brother, has voiced concerns about Houthi efforts to bury the case through pressuring the victim’s family members.

In a Facebook post, he conveyed pessimism towards the coroner’s report and warned that the Houthis are trying to tamper with facts.

The medical report stated that his sister suffered from a “growing swelling in the neck area with paresthesia in the limbs” as a result of blunt force trauma.

Locals in Odain reported Houthi gunmen, in the last few days, have carried out widespread arrest campaigns against the town’s youth and activists who condemned Ashary’s murder.

Houthis justified the arrests by saying that the condemnation of the murder seeks to undermine security and stability.

Dozens of those who stood in solidarity with Ashary’s family were harassed by Houthi gunmen, and at least 15 were arrested.

Murad al-Banna, a media activist, was arrested for exposing the crime on social media platforms.

* Published by Asharq Al-Awsat on Sunday, 10 January, 2021, under the title Houthis Smuggle Security Officer Accused of Killing Yemeni Woman in Ibb.