Sheikh Jamal al-Maamari, a freed captive who was released from Houthi jails recently, described what he saw in these prisons as death under the whip.
Maamari, who is from Amran governorate and was paralyzed by systematic torture from Iranian-backed Houthi militias, spoke of dozens of captives inside Houthi camps, who have been there for three years and live in tragic conditions without the knowledge of their families and relatives.
Sheikh Jamal also revealed that there are prisoners from various nationalities, including Saudis, Emiratis, Americans, Hungarians and French, and are under the influence of militias- without disclosing their information to the public.
Maamari appealed to President Hadi, his deputy and the Yemeni government not to waste his right and not to drop the Houthi crimes. He called on them to pursue the Houthi militias internationally to punish them for what they have committed against the Yemeni people.
“We endure systematic ethnic cleansing in Yemen,” Maamari said.
Narrating his arrest story, Sheikh Jamal said that the Houthi militias arrested him on March 13, 2015 from Armani Hotel in Sanaa.
He was accompanied by his illiterate wife, who was left alone and does not know anyone in Sanaa.
“After I was arrested, they beat me until they thought I was dead, and threw me to the morgue. I was lucky to have survived.”
They were surprised that I did not die and brought me back to the torture rooms. Then they kept me awake for eight days – with sessions of torture taking place every 15 minutes,” Maamari said.
He named his captors as Mehdi Muhammad Jarfan, Jassem Jarfan and Ali Hussain al-Marrani, claiming that they were related to the Houthi security department.
He also said that two Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps officers were involved in his torture. He mentioned their names as Fahrament Ridai and Arish Tosi al-Shirazi.
The extensive torture program in Houthi prisons did not only target Yemenis but also foreigners, including a couple of western UN contractors who were Maamari cell-mates. One of them, John Hamen, was beaten to death in custody, he said.
“ John, who is American, was beaten to death and I am the only eyewitness. There was another Georgian killed. There are more westerners, but I cannot disclose identities because I am concerned about their safety. I urge France and other western countries to protect their citizens.”
Maamari said Hamen was allegedly tortured and killed by Hamdi Ali Sofiyan, Houthi militia’s security officer; and Atallah Ali Khatira, known as Abu Mohammad Razehi, the director of the prison where Maamari and others were held.