Crimes and ViolationsStories

Yemeni Activist narrates how she was brutally tortured inside Houthi-run prisons

Republican Yemen

Yemeni human rights activist Samira Abdullah Al-Houry revealed on Sunday shocking details of her being tortured in prisons run by the Iran-backed Houthi militias.

According to Ms. Al-Houry, there are other female detainees being subject to inhumane physical and psychological torture, including electrocution, sexual harassment, and rape.

“I am a Yemeni human rights activist, and I am 32 years old. I was arrested on July 27, 2019, for documenting human trafficking crimes committed by Houthis,” Samira told Masrawy, an Arabic Egyptian news web portal.

“The families of the dead fighters turned to me seeking to expose the stealing of organs from the dead bodies,” she said. “They told me that they received the bodies inside coffins, and they discovered, during the burial ceremony, some organs were missing.”

She said a Houthi-affiliated armed group broke into her house and arrested her in a brutal way before her daughter and family members and was taken to a detention center called“ Dar Al-Hilal.

”Once I entered the detention facility, they started to investigate me for 12 hours, during which I was forced to remain standing. I was not allowed to eat, drink or even use to the bathroom,” said the human rights activist.

The human rights activist recounted how things got worse after the investigation and how a female squad known as Zinabiyat tortured her.

“Then Zinabiyat assaulted me, and threatened to arrest and torture my young daughter.”

“The torture went on for three months. They shocked me with electricity in different parts of my body. They kept on doing so even when my body began breaking down.”

Al-Houry said she was kept inside a cell under the ground that is one meter wide and one meter high, where there was no ventilation.

According to Al-Houry, they wanted to coerce her to write a statement acknowledging that she took part in prostitution activities.

She also described how Houthis sexually harass her and female detainees in prison, accusing them of sexual abuse and rape.

“I was subjected to sexual harassment. Meanwhile, my mates in prison were sexually assaulted and raped, and some of them became pregnant. The militia did not release them for fear of the scandal,” Samira said looking back on those days.

“Under torture, I agreed to record videos admitting crimes I did not commit. Only after that did they release me.”

Not long after she was released, the Yemeni activist fled Yemen with her own daughter and went to Saudi Arabia.

Samira says she decided to go public because there are still women inside prisons who endure heinous torture and sexual assaults, calling on the world and international organizations to intervene to protect Yemeni women and children from the Houthi oppression.

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