Yemen: Activist detained by Huthi-Saleh forces in escalating crackdown on critics must be freed
Yemen’s Huthi-Saleh forces must immediately and unconditionally release a leading political activist who has been arbitrarily detained in the capital Sana’a since 14 August without access to a lawyer or his family, Amnesty International has said.
Hisham al-Omeisy, 38, was arbitrarily detained at approximately 2.45pm on 14 August in Jawlat al-Misbahi, south Sana’a, when approximately 15 armed security officers from the National Security Bureau (NSB) took him away. Four days after his arrest, the NSB are still holding him incommunicado in an undisclosed location.
“Hisham al-Omeisy has been detained without charge or a court appearance in breach of Yemen’s constitution, which requires anybody arrested to be presented in court within 24 hours,” said Samah Hadid, Director of Campaigns for Amnesty International in the Middle-East.
“This detention illustrates the lengths to which local Huthi-Saleh authorities’ are willing to go to silence peaceful activists. Hisham al-Omeisy is a prisoner of conscience, whose only ‘crime’ is peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression, and he must be released immediately.”
Hisham al-Omeisy is a political activist who rose to fame during the Arab Spring and the ongoing Yemeni conflict. He became a leading and reputable voice, providing commentary and analysis on Yemen’s ever-shifting armed conflict through social media.
Since mid-2016, Yemen has witnessed a surge in arbitrary arrests, detentions and enforced disappearances by the various warring parties in the country.
Those targeted include critics and political opponents, journalists, human rights defenders and minorities, such as members of the Baha’i community.
Yemen is a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which guarantees the rights to freedom of association and expression.