The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor released a report entitled “I Wished Death”, which documents the suffering of prisoners released from the prisons of the Houthi group in Yemen.
In the introduction, the report says that on October 15, 2020, Yemen witnessed the largest prisoner exchange process since the beginning of the ongoing conflict in its sixth year. The operation, which was sponsored by the Red Cross and the United Nations, included the release of 1,061 prisoners, including 670 from the Houthi group, and 391 from the forces. Affiliated with the Yemeni government, including 15 Saudi soldiers and 4 Sudanese soldiers.
The report adds, “Through the Euro-Med Monitor’s follow-up of the prisoner exchange process, it appeared that a large number of prisoners released by the Houthi group were suffering clear signs of torture, some of them were wheelchair users, and some were on the back leaning on crutches, which indicated that they had been subjected to abuse. Large and dangerous families within. “
The exchange process came within the framework of the Stockholm Agreement sponsored by the United Nations in the Swedish capital between the Yemeni government and the Houthi group on December 13, 2018, which provides for resolving the situation in Hodeidah governorate, and making understandings about the humanitarian situation in Taiz Governorate, as well as exchanging about 15,000 prisoners He was detained by the parties to the conflict, and so this exchange process came as a first stage of the implementation of the agreement.
The first clause of the swap agreement signed by the two parties states the following: “It was agreed to release all prisoners, detainees, missing persons, arbitrarily detained, forcibly disappeared, and those under house arrest in relation to the events of all parties without any exceptions or conditions with the aim of resolving the case completely and completely.”
The report conveys information confirming that the Houthis run about 203 prisons, including 78 official prisons and 125 secret ones, in addition to the creation of private secret prisons located inside the basements of government institutions such as military sites, and others located in civilian buildings such as ministries and public administrations.
He pointed out that many prisons belonging to the Houthi group are in informal centers that are not designated for detention, including residential buildings, schools and universities, all of which do not meet the lowest international and national standards required in places of detention, with regard to cleanliness, good ventilation, and the provision of necessary health care. In addition to a severe shortage of water, electricity and basic supplies.
He explained that large parts of the areas under Houthi control contained prisons and public and secret prisons in which thousands of opponents and anti-group activists were hidden, and various types of torture and serious violations were used against them, as the establishment of prisons is one of the priorities in every expansion by the Houthis, as the numbers increase in the new areas. Prisons, and the Houthis transfer prisoners from police stations to secret and unknown places without judicial orders.
With regard to the health conditions inside the prisons of the Houthi group, the report clarified that with the outbreak of the Corona pandemic around the world, the virus also reached Yemen, and it spread inside the detention facilities run by the group, which posed a real threat to the lives of thousands of detainees.
The report said that the Houthi group is practicing brutal violations against the thousands of detainees who remain inside its public and secret prisons in the areas under its control.
The forms and types of torture varied and varied from my body and mind, and perhaps the most prominent thing that the Houthi group adopted in terms of physical torture was severe beating with heavy tools and rifle butts, hanging by hands for long hours, beating with whips after stripping of clothes, and the use of incendiary chemicals during torture, which in turn led to Permanent disabilities accompanied by devastating health effects, in addition to the death of dozens under torture, especially due to beatings on the head, batons, and severe burns.