4 years of enforced disappearance. Why do the Houthis insists on concealing Qahtan??

4 years of enforced disappearance. Why do the Houthis insists on concealing Qahtan??


On the night of 5th of April 2015, armed groups affiliated with the Houthi militia raided the house of the leader of the Yemeni rally for reform “Islah” Mohamed Qahtan in the capital Sana'a, forcibly took him from his family and threw him into the heart of total absence.

The militias have been besieging his home since February and are being placed under house arrest, after being arrested in Ibb province while heading for Aden without disguised or fearing of  arrest.

The leader Mohamed Qahtan, today, completed his fourth year and entered into the fifth years of enforced disappearance.

Over the four years, the Houthi militia refused to disclose his fate, or even to confess to the fact that he still alive, and leaked news of his death and other state leaders (the brother of the President, the defense Minister and Faisal Rajab) in an air strike.

"Every year for four years, there is nothing to change," said Mohamed Qahtan's son Zaid, adding that the militias refused to answer their question about his father "refusing to talk about him."

He accused the militias of contradiction "they contradict themselves, talk about steadfastness, challenge... They say "We are not afraid of the coalition and do not fear legitimacy... But we are afraid to tell you where your father is, afraid to talk to you, afraid to tell him your wife miss you, afraid to tell his children I love you».

Extreme discretion

Since he was kidnapped from his home, the militias have surrounded the fate of the leader Qahtan with a lot of secrecy, and resisted major international pressure from the United Nations and the UN Security Council, where UN Resolution No. 2216 calls on the Houthis to urgently release Yemen's defence minister general Mahmud al-Subaihi and all Political prisoners and the leader in the Reform Party Mohamed Qahtan and persons under house arrest and arbitrarily arrested.

The militias refused to allow successive UN envoys to Yemen, to meet with Qahtan, or to know his fate.

Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed acknowledged his work as a UN envoy in Yemen, while meeting with party leaders, confirming – according to one of them to Al-Masdar online – that he had reached the conviction that "the fate of Qahtan is only in the hands of Abdulmalik al-Houthi".

This story was confirmed by Dr. Abdul Malik Al-Mikhlafi, former deputy prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, who led the government's negotiating delegation in the rounds of consultations during 2015 and 2016.

Mohamed Abdel Salam does not know

Al-Mikhlafi says that he and his comrades in the government team tried to press and boycott the preparatory sessions of the Bayel consultations in Switzerland on 15 December 2015, so as to uncover the fate of the four forcibly hidden leaders, and put their file and other abductees as a priority in the negotiation.

"The Houthis escaped a lot from the answer, and then Mohamed Abdel Salam, head of the Houthi delegation, took me to the side, and told me that Mahmoud al-Subaihi is there, and he is fine, as well as Faisal Rajab, as for the brother of President Hadi, Major General Nasser Mansour, his fate was unknown until that time About him: "He's fine and he's taking his meds constantly, and I want you to reassure President Hadi."

"The fate of the civilian man, Mohamed Qahtan, Mohamed Abdel Salam said he does not know his fate, and I tried to know if he does not know his fate or is not authorized to reveal his fate," he explained in an article published by Al-Masdar online earlier. He contradicted and finally insisted that he knew nothing about him, and that one or two of knows about his fate (Mohamed Abdel Salam) were not one of them. "

The talk about Qahtan is limited to Abdul Malik

For his part, a member of the government delegation negotiating in Sweden's consultations, Askar Zua’eel, said the militias considered the leader Mohamed Qahtan and the rest of the four kidnapped, "a paper of pressure to pass a political deal without regard to the human side".

He added in a special statement to Al-Masdar online that talking about the fate of Qahtan "they consider it a very important subject that is fundamentally related to Abdulmalik al-Houthi personally."

"The militia's insistence on concealing Qahtan is a clear message that can only be talked about under a comprehensive, not partial, solution," Zu’eel said.

"The fate of the four kidnapped leaders is a pressure paper that the Houthis are trying to use for political leadership in general and Islah in particular, and they have made previous attempts to release Major General Nasser Mansour Hadi, the brother of President Hadi, but the response was shocking from the president my brother is a citizen like the rest his release should be be among the other prisoners.

"Any attempts to talk about Qahtan and his companions in the consultations and committees" is a kind of strategy that is not feasible or implemented, " Zu’eel said.

Abdul salam Mohamed, head of Abaad Centre for Studies, saying that the Houthis ' continued arrest of Yemeni voice of Peace Mohamed Qahtan confirms that "It is impossible to bring any peace in Yemen with a militia cannot differentiate  between war and politics,".

The latest round of Yemeni peace talks held in Sweden in late December last year, the government and the putschists came out with understandings in three files, most notably the exchange of prisoners and abductees, as well as the Hodeidah dossier and the removal of the siege from Taiz.

All abductees and captives were supposed to be released by January 20, , according to a rule (all for all) as stipulated in the agreement in Stockholm, Sweden, but almost four and a half months after the end of the consultations, there was no progress in implementing the agreements The prisoners ' and abductees ' agreement.

The government said two weeks after the end of the consultations that the al-Houthi group denied the presence of three thousand prisoners and abductees and did not provide any statements about the leader in the Reform Party “Islah”  Mohamed Qahtan and Gen.Faisal Rajab.

After that they held several meetings of the follow-up committees on the file of prisoners and abductees in Amman, and approved mechanisms for the release of the abductees, before the meetings were suspended indefinitely, and the group appeared to be more attached to the abductees in general and especially the leader Qahtan.

Ongoing terrorism

The militias have not only oppress Qahtan family for nearly four years, and at the beginning of this year the family was  intimidated, terrorized and intimidated.

Gunmen aboard several vehicles attacked the house of the leader Qahtan, frightened women and children, and gave the family three days to leave the house under the pretext that it was "reserved by the prosecution", a phrase that was written by militants on the wall of the house and was a guide to expose them, globally, and forced them pressures to deny the incident.

New Developments

On February 5th , the Specialized criminal Prosecution issued a memorandum to the political security agent, informing him that the alleged leader, Mohamed Qahtan, in the case (67) for the year 2015, serious crime, that there was no prosecution against him, and that Qahtan  therefore should be released.

The memorandum appended to the signing of Abdullah al-Kumaim, the criminal prosecutor (under the control of the Houthis), represented the first confession of the al-Houthi group to the abduction and concealment of the leader, Mohamed Qahtan.

The release order of Qahtan was handed over to political security, and the militia leader, Abu Aqil, was responsible for the apparatus, in receipt of the copy of the original memorandum.

The head of the defence for the abducted and forcibly hidden, lawyer Abdulbasset Ghazi, spoke with optimism, expressing his hope that Qahtan would be released on the basis of the memorandum.

He began by talking about the possibility that the Houthi militias would release Qahtan for goodwill, especially with the negotiations on the prisoners ' file, which were then continuing in Jordan.

The indicators confirmed the group's direction towards its launch, especially after the Saudi prisoner was released, but all the hopes and expectations evaporated.

As was the case four years ago, the militias did not inform the Qahtan family of his fate, health and place of detention.

Anas Amin, a relative of Qahtan, said in a tweet published on social media  "Two full months since the decision of the specialized criminal prosecution for the release of Mr. Mohamed Qahtan and we did not find any answer or reply from the Houthis or political security ".

He wondered, "if this decision was not to manipulate the feelings of his family and his lovers, what would it be? ".

The colleague, Saqr al-Sunaidi, remembers his father as a friend of Qahtan and lives in the same neighbourhood, remembers the name of Qahtan and his house as a famous teacher in Taiz, telling people about it when he was lost in the city streets.

"If you say today, Mohamed Qahtan, no fingers pointing at your house or prison, no one knows where you are and how you are," he asks. they didn't ask you if you are hungry as you were doing with college student when you see him ,did you have lunch? I had lunch, but what about you? "


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