Prominent Yemeni activist ‘Al-Omeisy’ detained by Houthis in Sanaa

Hisham al-Omeisy, who has been praised as ‘one of the best voices coming out of Yemen’, was taken by Houthi-Saleh forces on Monday

Hisham al-Omeisy, Houthis, Ali Abdullah Saleh, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch

Rights groups have called on the Houthi rebel group and former president Ali Abdullah Saleh to release a leading Yemeni political activist after he was detained earlier this week.

Hisham al-Omeisy is being held incommunicado in an undisclosed location in Sanaa, Yemen’s capital, after he was taken away by National Security Bureau (NSB) security forces on Monday afternoon.

Omeisy rose to fame during the Arab Spring uprisings that started in late 2010 and is considered a reputable voice on the Yemen war, providing commentary and analysis on the armed conflict through appearances on major news networks, newspaper op-eds and social media where he tweets in both Arabic and English.

Samah Hadid, director of campaigns for Amnesty International in the Middle East, said his detention “illustrates the lengths to which local Houthi-Saleh authorities are willing to go to silence peaceful activists”.

“Hisham al-Omeisy has been detained without charge or a court appearance in breach of Yemen’s constitution, which requires anybody arrested to be presented in court within 24 hours.”

She said that he was a “prisoner of conscience, whose only ‘crime’ is peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression, and he must be released immediately”.