Yemen: Rights Radar calls for disclosing the fate of Qahtan and Rajab for humanitarian reasons, considering UN’s inability to know their fate as a complete failure
Rights Radar Organization for Human Rights based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, has called on the United Nations envoy to Yemen, Hans Grundberg, to play an effective role in putting an end to the state of ambiguity surrounding the fate of the Yemeni politician, Mohammed Mohammed Qahtan, and Major General Faisal Rajab, who have been abducted by the Houthi militia in Sana'a for about eight years.
The fifth of April is the eighth anniversary of the abduction and disappearance of the prominent leader of the Yemeni Congregation for Reform Party, Mohammed Qahtan, who was taken from his family's home by armed members of Houthi militia, and whose fate has remained unknown for eight consecutive years.
It was hoped that the recent round of talks on prisoners and abductees between Yemeni government and Houthi militia would me held in mid-March 2023 in Geneva. It was announced that an agreement had been reached for exchanging 887 prisoners and abductees from both sides, waiting for including all civilian and military political leaders who were abducted or detained. This did not happen because the leader Mohammed Qahtan and Major General Faisal Rajab were excluded for unclear reasons.
It is a pity that UN envoy, with its international influence and weight, is unable to even extract information about Qahtan's fate about which his family knows nothing, not to mention his health condition.
We believe that there is nothing justifying Qahtan's continued enforced disappearance, especially since the specialized criminal prosecution of the Houthi militia had issued a memorandum to its security apparatus on February 5th, 2019, ordering his release, which is an official implicit admission of knowing his place and their responsibility for his detention, at least as a de facto authority in the capital Sana'a.
In a press interview with Al-Mahriah channel on April 10th, 2022, Sultan Al-Samai'i, a leader in the Supreme Political Council of Houthi militia, said that Mohammed Qahtan was not with his group and that they did not abduct him. He added that the forces belonging to the former President Ali Abdullah Saleh abducted him. This statement shuffled the cards and deepened the suffering of Qahtan's family, who confirmed in a previous statement that Mehdi Al-Mashat, the current president of the Supreme Political Council of Houthi militia, was present on April 10th, 2015, in the place where he was abducted only five days earlier. It was the only visit allowed by them to his family, and since then they have been prevented from visiting him or even knowing anything about his fate.
We consider the inability of UN envoy and International Red Cross to disclose to disclose the fate of Qahtan as an indication of international inability and failure in the humanitarian file, especially all the international covenants and agreements stress the right of Qahtan’s family to know his fate. In addition, they guarantee his human rights as an abductee, as well as his health and psychological integrity.
Rights Radar calls on Houthi militia to take into account the humanitarian considerations regarding Qahtan's condition, primarily because he is an elderly civilian who suffers from bad health conditions, as well as taking into account the suffering of his children and family due to his deprivation of liberty for years.
Qahtan was also known of his humanitarian stance against the abuses committed during the wars in Saada. In all his statements and media interviews, he constantly opposed all the attacks that targeted their villages, properties, children and women.
We renew our call to the United Nations, in all its bodies, to use its international influence and the power of international law to guarantee the lives and safety of all those who have been abducted or forcibly disappeared in Yemen, including political figures such as Mohammed Qahtan and Major General Faisal Rajab.