Sana’a: Only Five Prisoners of War Amongst Group Released by Saudi Arabia

After the Saudi Arabia announced an initiative to release 163 prisoners from the Sana’a forces and Popular Committees (Houthis’ fighters), the ICRC was contacted to make the necessary arrangements, the National Committee for Prisoners’ Affairs in Sana’a said.

“Three days after the alleged announcement, we met with representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) after they had visited the detainees, who were found to be only 126 detainees, not 163 as announced by the Saudi regime,” the committee said in a statement carried out by the official news agency of Yemen, Saba News.

“We had received the disclosures that includes a number of names from them. We checked them and matched them with our database of prisoners and detainees and it turns out the detainees released by Saudi Arabia are not prisoners of war, except for five of them and four abducted fishermen who were kidnapped from the Red Sea. The others were not known to us in the National Committee for Prisoners’ Affairs,” the statement read.

“While we welcome the release of any Yemeni, they must coordinate with the relevant authorities in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates and the Ministry of Human Rights,” the committee said.

The committee’s statement explained that nine of the detainees were foreigners of African nationality with whom they had no prior connection.

The statement stressed that the National Committee for Prisoners’ Affairs is concerned with the follow-up and liberation of all prisoners of the army and Popular Committees, and on this basis the nine released Yemenis were received.

As confirmed by the Prisoners Affairs Committee, the prisoner file is a humanitarian file that should not be used for bidding and extortion.

“We cannot allow the Saudi regime to politicize the file of prisoners, target Yemeni workers or detainees of different nationalities, and present them as prisoners of war.”

According to the statement, “during this year, we carried out several unilateral humanitarian initiatives in which we released more than 400 prisoners of war loyal to the Saudi side.”

On Friday, Yemeni journalist and former media advisor to Hadi in the Yemeni embassy in Riyadh, Anes Mansour, posted a picture of Yemeni immigrants who had been deported from Saudi Arabia and sent to Aden Airport.

In a sarcastic comment to the picture, Mansour wondered: “Are these prisoners, and if so, where were they captured?”

“This is the first time I have seen ‘prisoners’ who do not among them have any wounded, injured or disabled people,” he added.

Mansour confirmed that Saudi Arabia had arrested Yemeni expatriates whose residency had expired, deported them to Yemen and presented them as if they were released former prisoners of war.

Local media revealed the arrival of a Saudi plane at Aden International Airport carrying 40 people, including expatriates from Somalia, whom Riyadh falsely claimed were recently released former Yemeni soldiers.

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