By: Bushra Al-Ameri
As part of a mission to document human rights violations in various areas in Yemen, the Raqeeb Organization for Human rights visited families of detainees from Arhab, Nehm and Bani-Jarmooz from May 24-26.
Speaking with the National Yemen, Dr. Abdullah Al-Shaleef, chairman of Raqeeb, said three teams visited the families and also met with some of those detainees who had been released.
The organization documented the cases of around 130 detainees from Arhab, Nehm and Bani-Jarmooz. According to their findings, three detainees were found to be clinically insane following their release. According to the organization, two detainees – Naji Al-Saba’ai and Yahiya Hadi – died whilst in detention after being brutally tortured. The teams also learned that a number of soldiers from the Republican Guard’s 63rd Division had been detained for refusing to participate in attacks on their own villages.
Activist and team member Abeer Abu-Al-Asrar said she was told horrible stories by some of the detainees and their families. One such story involved the detention of a citizen named Khaled Ali and his 13-year-old son. According to Abeer, they had been detained for more than two months when the man’s son died on the day of their release in a car accident that the father claimed was purposefully caused by a car belonging to the Republican Guard camp.
Team member Dhekra Al-Wahedi said she was shocked by the nature of the stories she heard, including one about a detainee who received a permanent speech disability because he wasn’t offered any medical assistance despite being injured at the time of his arrest. Al-Wahedi stated that families grew terrified when they weren’t given any true information about their relatives for more than a month’s time. Some families had even been told lies about detained family members having been executed.
Samah Al-Hamdani, a Raqeeb team member, reported that Mohammed Shaief Dahra, 20, was tortured until he went insane. “Mohammed was arrested at one of the Republican Guard checkpoints on the Sana’a-Mareb road and was delivered to a National Security location, where he disappeared for two months,” she said.
According to Al-Hamdani, Mohammed’s family continued looking for him until they found him wrapped in a blanket on one of Sana’a’s streets. Mohammed’s father said his son was a Republican Guard soldier and that now he remembers nothing but his name and his brother’s face. The father provided evidence that Mohammed had been severely tortured and had been given electric shocks.
Al-Hamdani noted that most of the detainees had been arrested because they were from the above-mentioned villages and not for committing any crime. “Mohammed Al-Saref, 27, and his friend, Omar Mohammed Mohsen, were arbitrarily arrested and beaten with rifle butts… the soldiers then took all they had in their possession.
Citizen Mouneer Asdan, 28, said he was beaten and made to believe he was about to be executed three times, when soldiers covered his eyes and told him he was about to be thrown down a well.
“They tied me to artillery cannons as they were using them, causing my ears to burst… I was taken, with my eyes covered, and thrown harshly on the ground,” said Moneer. He added that soldiers proceeded to walked over him with their boots on.
Raqeeb team members stated that released detainees often needed to tell no story at all, as their bodies provided clear evidence of the effects of torture.
Citizens reported to the Raqeeb teams that people from the villages of Arhab, Nehm and Bani-Jarmooz continue to be detained and tortured.