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Amnesty calls on UK gov’t to help Briton held by Houthis

February 3, 2022 at 12:53 pm

Houthi followers in Marib, Yemen on 20 March 2021 in Sana’a, Yemen [Mohammed Hamoud/Getty Images]

Amnesty International has issued a statement calling on the UK government to do more to secure the release of a British man who has been detained without charge in Yemen for almost five years.

Luke Symons, 29, from Cardiff, has been held by the Houthi authorities in the capital Sanaa since his arrest at a security checkpoint in the southwestern city of Taiz on 4 April 2017.

According to his relatives, Symons, was arrested simply because he held a UK passport. Although he has been accused of spying for the British government, he has still not been formally charged with any crime.

Symons’ family say that in the early periods of his confinement he was tortured to make him “confess” to being a spy – and as a result of beatings his arm was broken.

The Briton, who is currently being held in solitary confinement in a prison in Sanaa, said his detention conditions were having a serious detrimental impact on his physical and mental health. Symons’ wife, a Yemeni national, expressed similar concern for his welfare after visiting him in jail last month.

Amnesty, which is working alongside the family on the case, said it is calling on the Houthi authorities to immediately release Symons unless he is charged with a crime. The organisation has also contacted the Foreign Office and “called on officials to significantly step-up efforts on behalf of the Cardiff man.”

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