Poetess speaks about her torture in Houthis’ prisons

Poetess speaks about her torture in Houthis’ prisons

Alsahwa Net- Berdis Al-Sayaghi, a Yemeni poetess and activist narrated details of atrocities being committed by the Houthis militants in female-detention centers.

In an interview with the Al-Arabya Net, Al-Sayaghi said that the Houthis use female militants known as Zaynabyat to torture Yemeni female detainees.

These female militants cut hair of the female inmates and exercise physical and psychological assaults against them.

When the Houthis launched their coup in Sana’a, Al-Sayaghi was managing a relief organization and writing anti-Houthis poetry.

Yet, her writings landed her in trouble with the Houthis who started pursuing her in her quarter of Maeen district of the capital Sana’a.

Following a two-year pursuit, the Houthis eventually arrested her husband and took him to an unknown location. Her husband was forcibly disappeared for eight months and no one knew where he was being detained.

Later, the Houthis officials told Al-Sayaghi that her husband died in detention and this drove her to intensify her verbal dissidence.

Consequently, the Houthis militants stormed her house and looted its contents including her jewelry, money, antiques and even home appliances.

She continued her criticism against the Houthis on various platforms and sued the Houthis over storming her house and looting its contents.

Then, the Houthis arrested her on 2 August 2019 at residence of her husband’s brother.

They took her to a prison in Sana’a and accused her of possession of weapons and terrorizing the state.

In detention, they asked her to confess on camera that she did those crimes.

In an attempt to persuade her to videotape her confession, they surprised her that her husband was still alive.

They allowed her to have a phone conversation with her husband to prove that he was still alive.

Al-Sayaghi initially refused and she was placed in a solitary cell for two months and half.

In solitary confinement, Al-Sayaghi was exposed to various forms of torture.

 She was being provided with only one meal and one liter of water per day.

She noticed that the water smelled bad to realize that it was brought from the sewage water.

Al-Zaynabyat women were electrocuting her body and assaulting her on her legs and thighs.

She became unable to move every time she was assaulted.

Later, she was moved out of the solitary cell and met other female inmates of 13 to 35 years old.

Those female detainees told her that they were raped and sexually abused by the Houthis’ gunmen.

One Houthis official who is now a minister of the Houthis’ cabinet raped two girls, according to Al-Sayaghi.

She added that the Houthis militants forced some girls to film sex videos with some of their militants and officials to use these recordings for banning women from exposing sexual abuse in prisons.

Al-Sayaghi fainted several times because of food shortage and torture.

She could not resist more and had to confess on camera about fabricated charges.

She was released last November and fled immediately to Egypt with her husband.

She vowed that she will not go silent about the Houthis’ abuses against the female detainees and will disclose sexual abuses on various international platforms.

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