Yemen: human rights 'in free-fall' as at least eight protesters killed
‘The Huthi leadership must immediately rein in the security forces and armed men under its control’ - Said Boumedouha
The deaths this morning of at least eight peaceful protesters in the city of Ta’iz, shot by members of the Yemeni Central Security Forces loyal to the Huthi armed group, illustrates a shocking disregard for human life as the country descends into chaos, said Amnesty International.
Doctors working at two hospitals in Ta’iz told Amnesty that at least another 119 individuals were admitted with injuries inflicted by the security forces since anti-Huthi protests began on Sunday. Most were treated for injuries related to tear gas inhalation and at least 38 had gunshot wounds.
The demonstrations in Ta’iz began in the early hours of Sunday when hundreds of people gathered to protest against the de facto takeover of Ta’iz by the Huthi armed group, seizing key installations including the international airport.
Governmental authority has been contested in Yemen since January when President Abd Rabbuh Mansour al-Hadi resigned under pressure from the Huthis, an armed group that took over the capital last September. Al-Hadi subsequently moved to Aden, in southern Yemen and Huthi forces are reported to now be moving toward Aden.
Amnesty International Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director Said Boumedouha said:
“Human rights in Yemen are in free-fall as even peaceful protest becomes a life-threatening activity.
“The Huthi leadership must immediately rein in the security forces and armed men under its control and tell them that force must not be used against peaceful protesters. People should not be at risk of death or serious injury for merely voicing their opposition to the Huthi takeover of towns and cities.
“The Prosecutor General should ensure that these shocking events are urgently and independently investigated. Those responsible for unlawful killing and arbitrary or abusive use of force must be brought to justice in fair trials.”
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