Houthis kidnap 100 women over claims of prostitution

Al-Muqalla: Iran-backed Houthis have kidnapped 100 women from their homes on charges of prostitution since early July in Yemen’s northwestern province of Hajj, Yemeni activists and rights groups warned on Monday.

The Geneva-based SAM Organization for Rights and Liberties said it had received information that Houthi authorities in the city of Hajjah, the capital of the Hajj province, had aggressively raided homes in the city, arrested about 60 women and imprisoned them.

“We emphasize that what happened to the women is an outright abduction crime that does not take into account the legal controls imposed by the law,” the organization said. “We call on the Houthis to release the women immediately and unconditionally.”

The SAM said several Houthi officials, including the city’s security chief Mohamed Salbah and another man named Hisham Wahban, raided women’s congregations and homes in Hajj.

Yemeni officials and human rights activists put the number of abducted women at around 100, and warned that the Houthis falsely accused the detainees of prostitution without offering evidence to support their allegations.

Many of the abducted women have faced intense social stigma as a result of their arrest, with some being ostracized by family members.

Hadi Warden, a lawyer and member of the National Committee on Human Rights Violation Charges in Yemen, told Arab News that armed Houthis stormed homes and residences of female students in the city of Hajjah and arrested at least 95 women. , which included many displaced people from the neighbourhood. Haresh and Abes districts. The warden said the militias kept the women in city jails and secret detention cells.

“They intimidated people and said that these women indulge in adultery, prostitution and immoral acts. They did not catch a single case red-handed,” the warden said, adding that no person was arrested during the raid.

The Yemeni activist said the Houthis also rejected a mediation offer from local dignitaries and tribal leaders who had tried to secure the release of the abducted women.

Activists believe the raids came after the Houthis grew local anger over the group’s ethics, which targeted women who allegedly violated Islamic dress codes or socialized with men.

The warden said: “How could such a number of women be involved in prostitution and why did they not arrest any man?”

The raids have led to some husbands divorcing their abducted wives while other women have been socially ostracized.

“Many women now choose to stay in prison to go back to their homes because their reputations were mutilated by the Houthis. In one case, they arrested a mother, her daughter and her daughter-in-law,” said the warden.

The warden charged the provincial Houthi operatives, including Naif Abdullah Abu Khorfesha, the security chief of Hajjah province; Mohamed Salbah, Head of Security of the City of Hajj; Sadiq al-Galil, an officer; and Mohamed al-Madwami, deputy director of criminal investigations in the city of Hajjah, the mastermind of the raid.