AL-MUKALLA: Abducted Yemeni model Entesar Al-Hammadi has threatened to launch a hunger strike as the Houthis refuse to release her or allow local prosecutors to question her, the model’s lawyer told Arab News on Sunday.
Khaled Mohammed Al-Kamal said that the Houthi-controlled Central Prison, where the model has been held since Feb. 20, has rejected a request to transfer the model to the court for investigation.
“My client has threatened to go on hunger strike if she is not released. She has also complained about [verbal] abuses by her [female] captors,” Al-Kamal said, adding that the Central Prison officials gave no convincing reasons for not transferring the model to the court.
“The prison has rejected three demands to transfer my client to the court. I believe that they refused to release her due to the huge media coverage of the case,” the lawyer said.
The 20-year-old model and actress was on her way to a film set when a Houthi checkpoint stopped her vehicle and abducted her and two friends.
“There are no clear charges brought against my client,” he said.
The abduction has triggered outrage on social media as activists renewed demands for designating the Houthis a terrorist organization for their crimes against Yemenis.
The Mothers of Abductees Association, an umbrella organization for thousands of female relatives of war prisoners, strongly condemned the abduction, saying that the Houthis prevented the model’s relatives and lawyer from visiting her.
In a statement, the organization demanded the international community and right groups to pressure the Houthis to stop abusing women and release all abductees.
“The Houthi group is fully responsible for the lives of Entesar and all kidnapped women in its prisons,” the organization said.
Several prisoners have launched a hunger strike in Houthi-held Sanaa to force the Houthis to release them, complaining about prison treatment and the refusal of their captors to set them free, two right groups said.
SAM, the organization for rights and liberties, and the Mothers of Abductees Association said in a joint statement on Saturday that several prisoners who were abducted by the Houthis in 2015, were transferred from the military prison to an unknown location after they launched a hunger strike, and they cautioned that their captors might torture them to force them to end their strike.
The organizations said that the Houthis are still holding hundreds of people inside small, insanitary and overcrowded cells in the military prison in Sanaa.
In March, hundreds of African migrants were killed or wounded when the Houthis caused a fire inside their overcrowded detention center in Sanaa in aa attempt to suppress a riot.
The rebels later used force to disperse a protest by survivors of the fire who demanded justice and compensation, and then deported them to government-controlled areas in southern Yemen.