In an unprecedented event, the Houthi militia kidnapped activists and political opponents and imprisoned them in unlawful prisons. These prisons posed a possible military threat to the coalition by being used as camps belonging to their opposing forces. The militia used the prisoners as human shields, fulfilling earlier threats of some loyalists to the Houthis and the former president Saleh that they would do this.

After the announcement in April 2015 of the Islah party, an opponent party to the Houthis, of its support for the Saudi-led Arab coalition operations, the Houthi militants and Saleh-loyalist forces kidnapped Ameen al-Rajwai, a senior leader in Islah. They took him to an unknown location on April 3, 2015. He had been arbitrarily imprisoned since that day. On May 31, 2015, as a result of the tireless efforts of his family to find him, his dead body was found. His body was burned, deformed, had traces of burns and fractions when taken to Thamar General Hospital. He was identified by his children, who then disclosed the possibility that he was abused before being used as a human shield in the military site in Harran Mountain that was targeted by the Arab coalition fire jets more than once.

The latest strike on the Harran Mountain was on May 21, 2015 which led to the death of Rajawi, and other two journalists: Abdullah Qabeel, the reporter of the Yemen Shabab, an independent TV channel, and Yousef al-Izri, the correspondent of Suhail Channel, an Islah-affiliated TV channel. Qabeel and al-Izri were kidnapped by the Houthi militia on May 20 during their coverage of an event held by Houthi-opposing tribal members in Thamar city (100 kilometers south of Sana’a). The International Federation of Journalists called on the UN to investigate their killings.

Rights Radar documented the death of at least eleven people who were victims used as human shields on Harran Mountain. The families and eyewitnesses said that the Houthi and Saleh-affiliated forces took Harran Mountain as a stronghold and a store for  anti-aircraft weapons. They also used the site of Harran Park as a depot for weapons and as an unlawful prison for its opponents. These measures were carried out under the supervision of a Houthi leader called Abu Zaid Abdul-Moghni al-Tawoos, affiliated to the Houthi group in Sa’adah.