Yemeni human rights activist faces death penalty by Houthi rebels

She had been documenting and exposing the recruitment of children by the Houthi militias

The UN experts expressed their alarm on Sunday about the impending execution of Fatima Saleh Al Arwali, a Yemeni human rights activist who was sentenced to death by the Houthi rebels. They called on the authorities in Sanaa, who are not recognized by the international community, to halt the execution.

The experts stated that executing Al Arwali would be a blatant breach of international human rights law.

“They appealed to all relevant authorities to prevent Al Arwali’s execution. They said that her execution would violate the basic and inviolable right to life and be an extreme case of gender violence.”

Al Arwali, who used to head the Yemen office of the Union of Women Leaders of the Arab League, was detained in August 2022 on accusations of “collaborating with the enemy” for alleged ties to the United Arab Emirates.

She had been documenting and exposing the recruitment of children by the Houthi militias that dominate the western part of the country and the human rights abuses faced by women seized by the rebels.

According to the reports received by the experts, the activist might be executed in Tahrir Square in Sana’a on Wednesday, February 21.

“The experts voiced their concern about credible claims of ill-treatment in detention against Fatima al Arwali, such as gender violence and serious infringements of due process rights and the right to a fair trial. They said that Al Arwali’s death penalty was incompatible with the fundamental standards and rules of international law. She should not be executed,” they concluded.

The statement was signed by the UN rapporteurs on extrajudicial or arbitrary executions (Morris Tidball-Binz), on torture (Alice Jill Edwards) and on human rights defenders (Mary Lawlor).

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