Yemen: Houthi rebels sentence female rights activist to death over 'spying charges'
Fatima Saleh Al-Arwali was detained by the Iran-backed rebel group in 2022 in an arrest probably linked to her human rights work, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention said earlier this year.
The 34-year-old was sentenced to death by a lower court, her lawyer Abdel Majid Sabra said, adding that the ruling remained open to appeal.
المحكمة الجزائية الإبتدائية المتخصصة بصنعاء الواقعة تخت سيطرة الحوثيين تصدر قراراً بالاعدام تعزيراً بحق الناشطة الحقوقية فاطمه صالح محمد العرولي.— عصام بلغيث (@esambalghaith) December 5, 2023
جرائم حوثية جديدة بحق الناشطين المهتمين بالحقوق والحريات وللاسف يستخدم القضاء كمطية لمثل هكذا جرائم. pic.twitter.com/4bWnDGpWoW
According to a court document seen by AFP, Arwali was accused of providing information to the United Arab Emirates, a member of the military coalition that intervened in Yemen in 2015 in support of government forces against the Houthis.
The rebels took control of Sanaa in 2014 before seizing vast swathes of territory where they have imposed tough restrictions on women.
The war between the two sides has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and plunged the Arabian Peninsula's poorest country into deep humanitarian crisis.
In August, in a letter addressed to authorities in Sanaa, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention voiced fears about "systematic violations of women's and girls' rights" by the Houthis.
The UN experts said they had received detailed information about Arwali's arrest, a detention that was "tantamount to enforced disappearance", and the conditions of her incarceration.
They said Arwali openly defended human and women's rights on social media and ran a non-governmental human rights training organisation.