Yemen Issues Death Sentence Against Woman Human Rights Defender
Al-Arwali, the 35-year-old head of the Al-Habitat Organisation for Human Rights Development, was arrested while she was traveling from Sana’a, to the city of Aden.
The Specialised Criminal Court of First Instance in Sana’a issued on December 5 a discretionary death penalty (Ta’zir) against Fatima Saleh Al-Arwali after convicting her of the charges made against her.
The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) condemns the death sentence and hopes that the woman human rights defender will appeal this initial ruling, which is based on trumped-up allegations.
In a statement issued today (December 8), GCHR says it reviewed the list of accusations included in the indictment and brought against her by the Specialised Criminal Prosecution.
It included an allegation that she “recruited herself to work with Emirati intelligence officers… and agreed with them to provide them with information and coordinates for the locations of the army, the popular committees, military manufacturing sites, and missile platforms in the Al-Jawf and Al-Bayda Governorates,” also in addition to their locations in Ma’rib Governorate, “in exchange for receiving a monthly salary in Emirati dirhams.”
She was also accused of publicly “impersonating another woman” and “hiding her real name because she was wanted by the authorities.”
Al-Arwali, the 35-year-old head of the Al-Habitat Organisation for Human Rights Development, was arrested on 14 August 2022 at Al-Hawban checkpoint while she was traveling from Sana’a, to the city of Aden.
She was arrested by the Security and Intelligence Service, which has detained her in its prison since then and isolated her from the outside world, including her family.
Prominent human rights lawyer Abdulmajeed Sabra described the ruling to GCHR as arbitrary and added, “The ruling is unfair as she did not get access to a lawyer.”
On 22 August 2023, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention wrote to the Houthi authorities to protest the “enforced disappearance, and detention without charge of human rights defender Ms. Fatima Saleh Al-Arwali in apparent retaliation for her promotion and protection of human rights.”
Meanwhile, GCHR calls on international mechanisms, including those of the United Nations, as well as the European Union and governments with influence in Yemen, to call on the authorities in Yemen, including the Houthis, to end the use of the death penalty against human rights defenders and journalists and free all those imprisoned on arbitrary charges.
GCHR also asked to overturn the death penalty issued against Fatima Saleh Al-Arwali and allow her access to her family and a lawyer while she is in prison.
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