First Published: 2018-02-15

Yemeni mother awaits death penalty for spying for UAE
Amnesty says Al-Omeissy in custody awaiting death accused of aiding an enemy country after they enforced disappearance, months of torture.
Middle East Online

Asmaa, who has two children, is the only one of the three still in custody

DUBAI - A Yemeni mother in Huthi rebel custody is waiting to be put to death over allegations she spied for the United Arab Emirates, rights group Amnesty International said on Thursday.

A court in rebel-held capital Sanaa handed down the death penalty to 22-year-old Asmaa al-Omeissy and two men on charges of "aiding an enemy country" after their enforced disappearance and months of torture, Amnesty said.

Yemeni activists and lawyers say they believe this is the first time a woman has been sentenced to death in a "state security" case, according to Amnesty.

The rebel-run Saba News Agency said the Specialised Criminal Court sentenced Omeissy, Saeed al-Ruwaished and Ahmed Bawazeer to death on January 30.

They were found guilty of "communication and aiding the Arab alliance, which resulted in facilitating the targeting and seizure of strategic sites in Yemen".

They were also found guilty of "establishing an espionage network and recruiting agents to work on behalf of the United Arab Emirates", Saba said.

Omeissy's 50-year-old father Matir received a 15-year prison sentence for an "indecent act" -- allowing his daughter to be in the same car as the male defendants.

Asmaa, who has two children, is the only one of the three still in custody.

The men were able to pay bail and flee to parts of Yemen not controlled by the rebels, Amnesty said, accusing the Huthis of engaging in "extortion".

The UAE, for which the defendants are accused of spying, is a pillar of the Arab-led military coalition that intervened in Yemen in 2015 with the aim of rolling back rebel gains and restoring the ousted government.

But the Iran-backed Huthis have consolidated their control of Sanaa in recent months, gunning down one-time ally Ali Abdullah Saleh and cracking down on opponents.

Journalists and activists have previously been sentenced to death by Huthi-run courts on charges of spying for coalition leader Saudi Arabia.

Amnesty said the latest sentencing was "part of a wider pattern of the Huthis using the judiciary to settle political scores".

It said the defendants were subjected to "enforced disappearance, cut off from the outside world, and secretly moved from one facility to the other.

"They were held in squalor in pre-trial detention for months, extorted for money, subjected to continuous humiliation and extreme physical abuse, and denied basic rights including legal counsel and family visits."

Amnesty has called for the sentences to be "quashed without delay".

More than 9,200 people have been killed since the Arab alliance intervened in Yemen, triggering what the United Nations has called the world's largest humanitarian crisis.


Syria rebels prepare to quit penultimate pocket of Ghouta

Egyptians prepare to vote with Sisi reelection guaranteed

Israel ministers welcome US appointment of 'friend' Bolton

Iran slams US sanctions over hacking scheme

Iraqi widow saved recruits from slaughter by IS

Policeman dead in bombing in Alexandria

Syrians in Manbij fear Turkey, bet on US

Quick victory unlikely in Egypt assault on IS

Sisi, Egypt's undisputed leader and 'father figure'

PKK to quit northwest Iraq after Turkish threat

Iraqi asylum seeker gets life sentence for London bombing

UK says Israeli sentencing of Palestinian teenage girl "emblematic"

Sarkozy vows to clear name in Libya probe

Syria announces second evacuation deal for rebel-held Eastern Ghouta.

Three dead after suspected IS gunman takes hostages in France

170,000 flee violence in Syria's Afrin

Norway proposes bill to ban full-face veils in education

Turkey says EU statements on Cyprus 'unacceptable'

Air strikes hit Ghouta despite rebel ceasefire effort

US approves $1 billion in Saudi defence contracts

Saudi to carry out nuclear power deal with or without US

In world first, flight to Israel crosses Saudi airspace

Saudi, US must pursue 'urgent efforts' for Yemen peace: Mattis

US, Jordan launch new counterterrorism training centre

Turkey’s largest media group to be sold to Erdogan ally

Rebels evacuate Syria's Eastern Ghouta

Exiled Syrian doctors treat refugees in Turkey

Two Hamas security force members killed in raid on bomb suspect

Turkey gives watchdog power to block internet broadcasts

EU leaders to condemn Turkey’s ‘illegal’ actions in Mediterranean

Sarkozy says life ‘living hell’ since corruption allegations

Hezbollah leader says debt threatens Lebanon disaster

Ahed Tamimi reaches plea deal for eight months in jail

UN launching final push to salvage Libya political agreement

Conditions for displaced from Syria's Ghouta 'tragic': UN

Sisi urges Egyptians to vote, denies excluding rivals

Rights Watch says Libya not ready for elections

Saudis revamp school curriculum to combat Muslim Brotherhood

American mother trapped in Syria’s Ghouta calls out Trump

Syria workers say French firm abandoned them to jihadists

Grim Nowruz for Kurds fleeing Afrin

Sarkozy back in custody for second day of questioning

'Saudization' taking its toll on salesmen

Syrian rebels reach evacuation deal in Eastern Ghouta town

Israel confirms it hit suspected Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007