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Iran-backed Houthis obstruct Yemeni model Entesar’s release

Iran-backed Houthis, Yemeni model Entesar Al-Hammadi, Yemeni

World

Iran-backed Houthis obstruct Yemeni model Entesar’s release

The Iran-backed Houthis dismissed a prosecutor who ordered the release of the abducted Yemeni model Entesar Al-Hammadi as they intimidated her lawyer to quit the case.

Khaled Mohammed Al-Kamal said the Houthi judicial authorities on Wednesday replaced Riyadh Al-Aryani, a prosecutor who questioned the model and found out she was not guilty of a crime and ordered her release, and threatened to put her on trial.

“They want to tell him that he should say she committed a crime instead of ordering her release,” Al-Kamal said, adding that an unidentified man stopped him in the street and threatened to punish him if he continued to defend the model.

“I alerted my colleagues at Yemen Lawyers Union about the death threat. My client is not a criminal and was arrested on the street,” he said.

The 20-year-old model and actress and two other actresses were abducted from a Sanaa street on Feb. 20 when they were heading to a film set.

Since the Houthis refuse to give clear reasons for abducting the model, her lawyer suspects that Entesar might face charges of violating Islamic dress codes or showing her hair.

“I challenge them to give us any clear charge against my client. She was arrested on the street. She did nothing wrong.”

A breadwinner for a mother, a blind father and a handicapped brother, Entesar has long expressed her wish to become an international model and has frequently posted images of herself in traditional dress to thousands of her social media followers.

The Yemeni lawyer said extensive media coverage of the case has irritated the Houthis, prompting them to put the abducted model into solitary confinement and replacing the investigator.

The model threatened to launch a hunger strike when the Houthis refused to release her or allow local prosecutors to question her.

Yemeni right groups and government officials fear that the model and her colleagues might face the same fate as hundreds of people who have been abducted from the streets of Sanaa and other Houthi-controlled areas and subjected to psychological and physical torture inside prisons.

“We demand that she be released, even on bail, so she can live with her family,” the lawyer said.

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