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Yemen: Release of Hisham al-Omeisy must be followed by release of all prisoners of conscience

Responding to the news that Yemeni journalist Hisham al-Omeisy was released after being detained incommunicado by Huthi forces in Sana’a since August 2017, Samah Hadid, Director of Campaigns for Amnesty International in the Middle-East Amnesty International said:

The release of Hisham al-Omeisy today is a welcome step, however, Huthi authorities must also immediately and unconditionally free all prisoners of conscience languishing in detention.
Samah Hadid, Director of Campaigns in the Middle-Eas

“The release of Hisham al-Omeisy today is a welcome step, however, Huthi authorities must also immediately and unconditionally free all prisoners of conscience languishing in detention.

“Since 2016, Yemen has witnessed a surge in arbitrary arrests, detentions and enforced disappearances by Huthi forces. Those targeted include people whose only crime is exercising their right to freedom of expression, such as journalists, critics, human rights defenders and members of the minority Baha’i community.”

Background:

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 on the ground, providing commentary and analysis in the media on Yemen’s ever-shifting armed conflict.

Amnesty International also has information that ten other Yemeni journalists have been arbitrarily detained without charge or trial for over two and a half years.

The organization also documented the persecution of Baha’is by the Huthis on account of their faith, including some who have been subjected to enforced disappearance. Earlier this month, Hamid Haydara was sentenced to death by the Specialized Criminal Court in Sana’a.