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US: Halting arms sales to Saudi Arabia a 'big step' - but more must be done

President Biden has said that 'the war in Yemen must end' © Kevin Dietsch/UPI/Bloomberg/Getty

US to stop supporting Saudi-led operations in Yemen, including the sale of precision-guided munitions Amnesty is calling for all arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE to be blocked ‘Crimes committed with arms sold by the US must be investigated’ - Philippe Nassif Responding to the Biden administration's announcement that the United States will cease support for the Saudi/UAE-led coalition engaged in Yemen, Philippe Nassif, advocacy director for the Middle East and North Africa, said: “As the conflict in Yemen enters its seventh year, it is vital that the United States commits to prioritising

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Yemen: Biden's temporary suspension of arms sales to Saudi Arabia and UAE 'a welcome relief'

© © Kevin Dietsch/UPI/Bloomberg/Getty

“The suspension of arms sales by the US is a step in the right direction and ups the pressure on European countries - most notably the UK and France - to follow suit” – Philippe Nassif Responding to the decision by US President Joe Biden to temporarily suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Philippe Nassif, advocacy director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International USA, said: “President Biden’s decision to freeze arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE represents a welcome relief in an otherwise shameful chapter of history. Almost six years

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Court sentences four journalists to death

Death Penalty
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Nine of the journalists were arrested in a single raid on the Qasr al-Ahlam hotel in Sana’a on 9 June 2015. Abdelkhaleq Amran, Hisham Tarmoom, Tawfiq al-Mansouri, Hareth Hamid, Hasan Annab, Akram al-Walidi, Haytham al-Shihab, Hisham al-Yousefi and Essam Balgheeth were working at the hotel as it was one of the few places in the city that had an internet connection and electricity.

The 10th journalist, Salah al-Qaedi, was detained at his home in Sana’a by members of Huthi forces on 28 August 2015 according to an eyewitness. Five minutes later, they returned to the house and demanded that the family hand over Salah al-Qaedi’s laptop and equipment threatening to arrest the rest of the family. When the family said that they did not have his equipment, Huthi forces arrested all seven male relatives and held them for 48 hours.

On 16 March 2016, nine of the journalists, excluding Salah al-Qaedi, were moved from al-Thawra pre-trial detention facility to al-Habra. Salah al-Qaedi had been detained in al-Habra since mid-October 2015. On 23 May 2016, the families of all 10 detained journalists went to visit their relatives in al-Habra. On arrival, prison guards told the families that the journalists were no longer there but refused to reveal their whereabouts. 

The 10 journalists were detained without charge or trial until December 2018, when they were formally charged after being questioned in the presence of their lawyers. Their first trial session was held on 9 December 2019. Without informing their lawyers and families, the court sentenced Tawfiq al-Mansouri, Abdelkhaleq Omran, Akram al-Walidi and Hareth Hamid to death during their latest trial session on 11 April 2020. Lawyers were barred from representing the men and from attending the court session. 

All parties to the conflict, including Huthi forces, the Yemeni government, the Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (UAE)-led coalition and UAE-backed Yemeni forces have carried out arbitrary detentions.

In areas they controlled, Huthi forces arbitrarily arrested and detained critics and opponents as well as journalists, human rights defenders and members of the Baha’i community, subjecting scores to unfair trials, incommunicado detention and enforced disappearance. The majority of those targeted have been members or supporters of the political party al-Islah. 

The internationally recognized Yemeni government has also harassed, threatened and arbitrarily detained human rights defenders and other activists. Meanwhile, UAE-backed Yemeni forces in southern Yemen conducted a campaign of arbitrary detentions and enforced disappearances. In May 2018, Amnesty International detailed the cases of 51 men held in a network of secret prisons by UAE and Yemeni forces operating outside the command of Yemen’s government, including individuals detained between March 2016 and May 2018.

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Saudi Arabia: thousands of Ethiopian migrants held in 'hellish' conditions - new investigation

Detainees have spoken of being forced to share cells with 350 people © Private

Thousands of Ethiopians expelled by neighbouring Yemen in March left to languish in disease-ridden Saudi cells Reports of dead bodies in cells, with lack of soap and water creating acute COVID risk ‘It’s hell, I’ve never seen something like this ...There are no toilets’ - Ethiopian detainee who spoke to Amnesty The Saudi Arabian authorities have subjected detained Ethiopian migrants to a catalogue of “unimaginable cruelty” - including chaining detainees together in pairs, confining them 24 hours a day in unbearably-crowded, hot and disease-ridden cells, and forcing them to use their cell

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UK: Liz Truss statement on arms sales to Saudi Arabia 'deeply cynical'

Campaigners with a replica of a Typhoon war plane outside the Houses of Parliament last year © Amnesty International

UK Government insisting previous Saudi violations in Yemen were ‘isolated incidents’ UK has sold around £5bn of arms to Saudi Arabia during bloody Yemen conflict ‘This seems like an attempt to rewrite history and disregard international law’ - Kate Allen Responding to a House of Commons statement today by the International Trade Secretary Liz Truss on UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia, Kate Allen, Amnesty International UK’s Director, said: “This is a deeply cynical move to restart business as usual when it comes to Saudi arms sales. “How the Government can seriously describe a five-year Saudi-led

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Saudi Arabia: UN should urgently review de-listing over children's rights violations

Yemeni children have been killed in numerous Saudi-led coalition attacks in the past five years © AFP via Getty Images

Letter from 24 NGOs sent to António Guterres ahead of debate today Last week, UN removed Saudi Arabia from report on countries violating children’s rights despite record in Yemen ‘This premature de-listing shows the UN’s mechanism is highly compromised’ - Sherine Tadros Amnesty International and 23 other NGOs have written to UN Secretary General António Guterres calling on him to reconsider the de-listing of Saudi Arabia from a UN watchlist of warring states and armed groups found to be violating children’s rights. Last week, the UN’s annual report on children and armed conflict removed Saudi

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Yemen: Huthi-run court upholds death sentence against Baha'i man

The Huthi authorities are currently denying Hamid Haydara any visits, including access to his lawyers, making a last-ditch appeal impossible © Private

Hamid Haydara, prisoner of conscience of Baha’i faith, originally arrested in 2013 and subjected to unfair five-year trial process ‘There is no question that Hamid Haydara is being sentenced to death solely for his conscientiously-held beliefs and peaceful activities’ - Lynn Maalouf A Huthi-run court in Yemen has upheld a death sentence against Hamid Haydara, a prisoner of conscience of Baha’i faith, Amnesty International learned today. The Court of Appeals in Sana’a yesterday approved the sentence which had originally been handed down in January 2018, following a protracted and grossly unfair

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Minor on trial over social media posts

A Yemeni teen-refugee in Jordan is being tried for “blasphemy” and “insulting religious feelings” for social media posts.

First UA: 15/20

Saudi Arabian arms ship due to dock in Tilbury next week

The Bahri Yanbu cargo ship has previously transported millions of pounds of weapons to Saudi Arabia © Pasaje Seguro

Saudi state-owned Bahri Yanbu cargo vessel has track record of carrying millions of pounds of weapons to Saudi Arabia Dockworkers’ strike in Italy among planned protests ‘Activists and port workers are on high alert’ - Patrick Wilcken Protests and lawsuits are planned in several European countries this week over fears that a Saudi Arabian state-owned cargo ship - Bahri Yanbu - is due to dock in European ports with a consignment of arms destined to be used in the conflict in Yemen. The Bahri Yanbu, which is due to reach Tilbury Docks on 7 February, has previously ferried tens of millions of

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Yemen: BAE Systems and other arms companies face legal challenge at The Hague

A mock Typhoon fighter jet taken to Parliament by Amnesty activists earlier this year to protest at the UK's sale of arms to Saudi Arabia © Amnesty International

International Criminal Court asked to investigate corporate executives and government officials UK companies BAE Systems, Raytheon and MBDA among those named ‘An ICC investigation would be a historic step towards holding arms company executives accountable for their business decisions’ - Patrick Wilcken The International Criminal Court must investigate the role of European arms companies in possible war crimes in Yemen, Amnesty International said today, as it joined an official legal request to the court at The Hague. The European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights has submitted a 300

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