Yemeni model Entesar al Hammadi has been sentenced to five years in prison for “adultery, prostitution and drug use” in a court in Sana’a, under the control of the Huthi rebels. Three other women tried with her have received sentences of between one and five years, the Saba news agency reported on Sunday. Both human rights activists and the internationally recognized Yemeni government have criticized the ruling.
In addition to Al Hammadi, Yusra al Nashiri, Mahlya al Baadani and Ruqayah al Sawadi appeared in court, according to Saba. Judge Osama Abulaziz al Junaid found the four guilty of adultery and Al Hammadi and Al Nashiri of “drug use”. In addition, he considered that the first three incited “debauchery and prostitution.” Hence, he sentenced Al Hammadi and Al Nashiri to five years in prison; Al Baadani, three, and Al Sawadi, one.
The trial, which the Yemeni news portal almarsdpost qualifies as a “parody”, it was held behind closed doors. SAM, an organization that monitors human rights violations in Yemen and the Middle East, has condemned the sentence because “it is not based on legal evidence” to convict the defendants.
Al Hammadi, 21, was arbitrarily detained last February when Huthi militiamen stopped the car in which she was going to a photo session in Sana’a, accompanied by an actress friend and two men. The young woman was accused of “violating public morality”, a charge that Amnesty International (AI) described as “spurious” last May.
Everything seemed to indicate that he had irritated the Huthi Puritans, who since the end of 2014 control northern Yemen, including the capital, due to some photographs in which he appeared without the mandatory veil. Yemeni rebels impose a strict moral code on women, similar to that of their model and ally Iran, and which includes a requirement to observe the hiyab, that is, hair and body shapes are covered.
Al Hammadi’s arrest was interpreted as part of a Huthi campaign against liberal women and other critical voices in the areas they control. As the lawyer for the model, Khaled al Kamal, revealed to the Human Rights Watch organization, at least five other women were in the same prison as her under accusations of “indecency”, but they did not want to publicize their cases so as not to damage their reputations. of their families.
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According to the Gulf Center for Human Rights (GCHR), Al Hammadi tried to kill herself on Monday, June 28, as a result of the decision by the management of the Central Jail in Sana’a, where she was detained, move her to the section reserved for prostitutes. It was the culmination of months of abuse. Until April she did not have access to a lawyer, nor did her family know what had happened to her. In addition, according to AI, while she was detained, she was subjected to blindfolded interrogations, suffered physical and verbal abuse, including racist insults, in order to force her to confess to the crimes of which she was accused.
Al Hammadi, who was scheduled to start college this year, was the only source of income for his family, as his father is blind and his brother has a physical disability. Although she had worked as a model for four years, she made a name for herself when she appeared on two television series during the month of Ramadan last year. However, during an interview recorded at the time, she said she liked modeling more than acting. “My parents told me that being a model was an impossible dream; I replied that it was my dream and I wanted to try it ”, he declared.
Moammar al Eryani, Minister of Information and Culture of the internationally recognized Yemeni Government, has taken to Twitter to denounce “the trumped up” AND “defamatory” charges on which the sentence against the four women has been based. Al Eryani attributes the judge’s cruelty to the refusal of Al Hammadi and her friends to work for the Huthi by spying on political figures and the local press. It also calls on the international community to pressure the rebels to immediately release the detainees.
The Huthi, who have managed to resist Saudi Arabia’s intervention to restore the government of President Abdrabbo Mansur Hadi, feel that they are winning the war and reject calls for a ceasefire. Since last September, the rebels have redoubled their attacks to conquer Mareb, the last provincial capital in the hands of the pro-Hadi forces and which they have been besieging since February.
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