Yemeni rebels have freed a journalist they had been holding in the capital Sanaa since August but others remain in arbitrary detention, Amnesty International said on Tuesday.
Hisham Omeisy had spoken out against restrictions in rebel-held areas but had also criticised the actions of a Saudi-led coalition that has been fighting the rebels since 2015.
“The release of Hisham al-Omeisy today is a welcome step — however, Huthi authorities must also immediately and unconditionally free all prisoners of conscience languishing in detention,” Amnesty’s Samah Hadid said.
Some good news! The release of Yemeni blogger Hisham al-Omeisy is a welcome step. The Huthi authorities should now free all prisoners of conscience still languishing in detention. https://t.co/o1QG00EuD2
— Amnesty UK (@AmnestyUK) January 16, 2018
Pictures circulating on social media showed Mr. Omeisy hugging his two young sons, thin but apparently unharmed.
Amnesty said there had been a surge in arbitrary arrests in Yemen since 2016, with journalists, human rights defenders and members of the Baha’i religious minority most at risk.
The rebels sentenced Yemeni Baha’i Hamid Haydar to death earlier this month on charges of collaborating with Israel and forging official papers, Amnesty said.
The Baha’is believe that Bahaullah, who was born in Iran in 1817, was the most recent prophet sent by God. They are widely persecuted in the Islamic world.
Human Rights Watch has said it has documented 66 cases of arbitrary arrest by the rebels, who control Sanaa and much of the north of Yemen.
Two of those held died in custody while 11 more suffered ill-treatment including torture, HRW said.