Press briefing note on Yemen

We are deeply alarmed by the imposition of the death penalty on 30 people by the Specialised First Instance Criminal Court of the de facto authorities in Sana’a. The 30 men – most of whom are academics, students and politicians affiliated with the Islah party that has been critical of the Houthis – were sentenced to death on Tuesday.

The UN Human Rights Office has received credible information suggesting that many of those convicted were subjected to arbitrary or unlawful detention, as well as torture and other ill-treatment in custody. They were arrested by members of the forces and popular committees affiliated with the Houthis at various points in 2016 and charged in April 2017 with allegedly participating in an organized armed group with the intention of carrying out criminal acts against the security personnel and popular committees affiliated with the Houthis, such as bombing and assassination in Sana’a, providing intelligence to aggressors, and affecting Yemen’s social peace and security.

We understand that the convictions and sentences will be appealed and call on the Appellate Court to take heed of the serious allegations of torture and other ill-treatment, and of violations of the fair trial and due process rights of the convicted people. Any politically motivated charges should be dismissed and international fair trial standards fully complied with.

The UN opposes the use of the death penalty in all circumstances.