Yemen’s Houthis announces unilateral initiativeto free 350 prisoners, including three Saudis
The head of Yemen’s National Committee for Prisoners Affairs (NCPA) says the Houthi movement will release 350 prisoners, including three Saudi nationals, in its latest goodwill gesture.
“We have presented to the United Nations a unilateral initiative to release 350 prisoners and detainees from the other party who were included in the Stockholm agreement statements ,” Al-Murtada said in a news conference.
“Our initiative proves our credibility in implementing the Sweden agreement and we call on the other party to take a comparable step,” Yemen’s al-Masirah TV quoted NCPA head Abdulqader al-Mortada as saying Monday.
“The 350 prisoners … are included in the prisoner lists of the Sweden deal,” Mortada said in a press conference.
He stressed that this initiative will be implemented today under the auspices of the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross, both of which are the co-presidents on the implementation of the Stockholm agreement.
Among the released prisoners are three Saudis who will be transferred by the ICRC to their families in Saudi Arabia.
Mortada noted that the Ansarullah movement launched the initiative due to the big delay in the implementation of the prisoner swap deal.
He said the forces of the Saudi-led coalition are continuously hindering the deal through rejecting all the initiatives and proposals put forward by the UN special envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths who welcomed the Houthi move on Monday.
He explained that among the released prisoners are all the prisoners who survived from the crime committed by the coaliiotn on Dhamar prison earlier this month.
Al-Murtada asked the United Nations to press the other party to take a similar step, or to count a similar number of our prisoners in any future deal.
It is the latest goodwill gesture from the Ansarullah movement which called for a cessation of strikes earlier this month.
He called on the coalitiotn forces and paid fighters to stop the immoral and inhumane practices inside their prisons, and allow international organizations to visit these prisons and see the conditions of prisoners to reassure their families.
He stressed that the prisoners’ issue is humanitarian and all parties should stop politicizing it whatever the political, military and security developments are.
President of the Supreme Political Council in the Yemeni capital Mahdi al-Mashat on September 20 said the Ansarullah movement would stop targeting Saudi territories with drones and ballistic missiles, hoping Riyadh would reciprocate the gesture.
In March 2015, the US -backed –Saudi-led coalition started a war against Yemen with the declared aim of crushing the Houthi Ansarullah movement, who had taken over from the staunch Riyadh ally and fugitive former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, while also seeking to secure the Saudi border with its southern neighbor. Three years and over 600,000 dead and injured Yemeni people and prevented the patients from travelling abroad for treatment and blocked the entry of medicine into the war-torn country, the war has yielded little to that effect.
Despite the coalition claims that it is bombing the positions of the Ansarullah fighters, Saudi bombers are flattening residential areas and civilian infrastructures.
More than 2,200 others have died of cholera, and the crisis has triggered what the United Nations has described as the world’s worst humanitarian disaster.