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Yemen: Houthis ready for new prisoner swap

October 27, 2020 at 11:51 am

Houthis in Yemen on 4 December 2017 [Abdullah Homran/Anadolu Agency]

Yemen’s Houthis said yesterday that they are ready to exchange all prisoners with the internationally recognised government, ten days after a prisoner swap was completed between the rival authorities, Al-Khaleej Online reported.

In a tweet, the head of Committee for Prisoners’ Affairs, Abdul Qader Al-Murtada, said: “We have told the UN that we are ready to start talks on a new prisoner swap.”

He said that the militant group is ready for a swap that includes all or part of the prisoners. “We hope that the UN does not delay the issue,” he said.

Delegates representing the Yemeni government and the Houthi militias agreed on 27 September to immediately release the first group of 1,081 conflict-related detainees and prisoners, in accordance with the lists of agreed-upon names.

The prisoner swap was carried out under the supervision of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Anadolu reported.

Report: Houthi-controlled courts issued 200 death sentences since 2017

A joint statement by the ICRC and the UN announced the deal in Geneva.

Yemen has been beset by violence and chaos since 2014, when the Houthis overran much of the country, including the capital Sanaa.

The crisis escalated in 2015 when a Saudi-led coalition launched a devastating air campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi territorial gains.

More than 100,000 Yemenis, including civilians, are believed to have been killed in the conflict, which has led to the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with millions at risk of starvation.