[Press Release] on the Death Sentences Issued by the Houthi Coup Militias against 30 kidnapped and Arbitrarily Arrested Detainees

The Government of the Republic of Yemen expressed its condemnation, in the strongest terms, of the death sentences issued by the Houthi coup militias against 30 kidnapped and arbitrarily arrested detainees, in a statement issued by the Ministry of Human Rights.

The government, in its statement, reiterates that this is the result of the mock trial by a court that has no jurisdiction, which violates the most basic judicial rules guaranteeing the integrity of the trial, the right of the accused to defend themselves, and the non-threat or detention of their lawyers in court hearings; Perceiving that the Houthi militias use the courts as a tool to oppress their oppositionists, asserting that the court is outlaw court where abductees have been subjected to illegal trials with false accusations.  

On 9th July 2019, after quitting 6 out of 36 kidnapped and detainees, the court under the control of the Houthi coup militias in the capital Sanaa sentenced to death 30 detainees after they were abducted from their homes and places of work. The prisoners have been exposed to enforced disappearance and subjected to brutal torture in custody for THREE years. They are mainly academics, professors, politicians, students, human rights defenders, and civilians.

On 10th July 2019 the Government of the Republic of Yemen condemned the Houthi militia's sentences and urged the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNOHCHR) and the UNSG Special Envoy to Yemen, Mr. Martin Griffiths, to intervene with all possible means to save these activists from the Houthi militia's extrajudicial execution, noting that this will undermine the peace process and negotiations on the file of the prisoners’ exchange according to the Stockholm agreement.

Day after day we see more Yemeni families fear death sentences from illegal coup courts after seeing their relatives being abducted and detained captive and now face serious charges through trumped-up charges in flagrant violation of all international laws and human rights laws.

Everyone has the right to a fair trial in both civil and criminal cases. The effective protection of all human rights depends on the means already available to the competent, independent and impartial courts of justice which can and should administer justice in an equitable manner. And access to justice, of course, is not available in the comic courts held by the Houthis militias.

The Embassy of the Republic of Yemen in the Hague represented by Ambassador Sahar Ghanem appeals to all official Dutch authorities and Human Rights organization to take a firm stand against these sentences which constitute a flagrant violation of human rights, especially as these sentences are carried out by the Houthis militias to suppress political activists, journalists and human rights defenders. And, we urge all human rights organizations to act immediately to save their lives, as verdicts could be handed down and the abductees might be executed.

The Sentences from a Legal Point of View

Since storming the capital Sanaa in September 2014, the Houthi militias assumed control of the justice system in the capital Sanaa. The Specialised Criminal Court of First Instance in Sanaa, which deals with crimes including terrorism, is one of justice system operated by the Houthi militias.

It is rather clear that the Houthis militias have progressively utilised the Specialised Criminal Court to target persons they deem to be opponents to their authority. As a result, the Supreme Judicial Council, Yemen’s highest judicial authority, had issued its decision No. (15) for the year 2018, ordering the shutdown of the Specialised Criminal Court of First Instance in Sanaa.

Therefore, the Supreme Judicial Council considers the sentence issued by the Houthi Criminal Court in Sanaa to execute 30 political prisoners and all the sentences issued by the penal court in Sanaa illegal and issued from an illegitimate court lacked its mandate and affiliate to an illegitimate governing authority.

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