Investigation Reveals Executions in Cellars of Secret Prisons for Islah

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According to human rights reports, there is no firm statistics for the crimes of arbitrary executions, outside the law in Taiz city.

These reports attribute the matter to the severity of the repression and threat being exercised against victims’ families who are unable to speak or report on them. At least for the current time, because there are no legal authorities to protect them, as in the case with families of kidnapping victims and enforced disappearances families, and victims of other crimes.

National Institute Square

On the other hand, a report by Haq Organization on the secret prisons of the Islah Party in Taiz reveals some numbers that recorded some of those crimes based on monitoring and field research by independent activists and research and statistics centers concerned with human rights.

The report confirms that preliminary and indefinite statistics between 2015 and 2017, in which the number of executions reached hundreds, of these, 120 cases of execution were recorded, while the acts of kidnappings and arbitrary arrests amounted to thousands, and 2,700 of them were recorded cases.

The report says, “Haq’s research procedures and field information were confirmed during its field survey in Taiz city, that the actual executions coincided with the emergence of Islah fighters under the cover of Ansar al-Sharia in the city, Likewise, there was an increasing emergence of extremist Salafist groups under the name (Hama al-Aqidah), led by Salafi Sadiq Mahyoub, nicknamed Abu al-Saduq (assassinated some time ago).

He explained, “Hasm Brigades had not expanded their influence at that stage in May 2015, however, it participated in the executions on the side of Islah and Ansarr al-Shariah, the protectors of faith and all of them are considered an integrated system under different names.”

He points out that executions were carried out according to three tracks including the secret executions that were carried out inside the cellars of prisons and the corridors of secret prisons, in addition to field executions carried out on the front lines, including Jabal Al-Jarrah front in the northern part of the city center. As well as open places designated for executions inside the city on the northern side of the center. The most prominent of which is the current (Saila osaifrah) as a scene of executions crimes.

osaifrah watercourse where the executions took place on the question of osaifrah, the report draws attention, “The place is well known by the people of Taiz, in particular, the families of the kidnapped victims are anxiously awaiting. Osaifrah watercourse witnessed most of the open field executions, its victims are innocent civilians against whom these operations were carried out at different times, individual and group executions, which peaked at the beginning of May 2015.

It points out that the executions continued until June 2016, with a decrease and a decline in its percentage inside the city compared to 2015.

He explains that this was found through collecting field information and interviewing with the families of the victims and witnesses, and the lack of dead bodies appearances in the streets of the city and osaifrah water course in the mentioned period, in contrast to what was the case in 2015, with the increase in the number of kidnappings for the year 2016, while the year 2017, no executions were recorded. The rate of kidnappings decreased with the emergence of assassinations in the city.

He notes that the area in which the executions are carried out from osaifrah watercourse is located in the security square under the control of Islah militia and its allies. it is in the vicinity of one of Islah party prisons , the most famous of which is (AlNahdah School) prison.

He adds that within the scope of this control, there was a headquarters for armed Salafist groups, in one of the buildings belonging to Al-Saeed Mosque. It is a group affiliated with the hard-line Salafi nicknamed Abu (Al-Saduq), who is loyal to the Brotherhood (Islah) and is close to the leader of the resistance, Hammoud Saeed Al-Mikhlafi.

The human rights report of Haq contains examples of extrajudicial executions in their three tracks, supported by recorded testimonies of victims’ families, which was carried out by Islah militia against the innocent during that period, Taiz news platform publishes some of them, noting that we have encoded the names of victims and the names of witnesses in order to preserve the safety of those who testified.

Open field executions inside the city

The victim / (Khalil. A. A.), 42 years old, a plumber electrician, he is a father of four children, three boys and a girl, the oldest of whom is 14 years old, and the youngest is seven years old.

Mr. (S. A. A.), 45 years old, the older brother of the victim, says that on Thursday nine of Ramadan corresponding to June 19 2015, at five in the evening, while my brother, the victim, is next to his house with some of young men, there are four of them, including my younger brother (B. A.), a Land Cruiser car parked next to them.

He continues, “six masked people with their Kalashnikovs got out of the car and they asked where Khalil was, then they proceeded to handcuff him to the back, blindfold him, and took him into their vehicle in astonishment of those present at the time, and we do not know where they went with him.”

He explained, “We were informed on the second day of Friday’s afternoon by other residents of the neighborhood that there were bodies of people who had been executed in  osifrah watercourse next to Al-Saeed Mosque, we went there, and after we saw my brother’s body, we found that he had been executed by firing six shots from behind, one of them in the head.”

The victim Khalil.A.A:

When we asked him, did the victim his brother have a certain political affiliation or enmities with others? He replied:

He has absolutely no political affiliation, he does not have any enmities with others, he has just constant criticism on the behavior of the militants in the neighborhood and the thefts that take place.”

Mr. (S.A.A.) confirms that two days before the crime of his brother’s execution took place, one of the leaders of Islah Party came to him and said to him: Is your brother Khalil a soldier in the Republican Guard? My brother, an electrician plumber, replied to him. Noting that two days later, his brother was kidnapped and the death penalty was carried out against him.

He adds, “A week after my brother’s execution, there was the crime of assassinating the victim, Issam Abdullah Mahyoub, owner of a candy store. The operation was carried out in front of his house in the evening after Maghrib prayer by a masked armed group, on board of saloon vehicle, one of them got off and fired five bullets at him, killing him instantly.

▪️ The victim / Abdullah a.s.h 18 years old – student

The father of the victim (Abdullah A. H) says, “On the day when the area was taken over”, in which the governorate building is located next to the residential neighborhood on the eastern side of the city center, it is an area that was under the control of Houthis.”

He notes, “After the armed confrontations, and they expelled from that area on August 15, 2015.” and the seizure on the governorate building and its surrounding neighborhoods. On that day, measures were taken by the party that took control of the governorate building, including arrests, raids on resident’s homes in those neighborhoods, and kidnappings.”

He explains, “My son was one of the victims of those arbitrary arrests, which were carried out in an arbitrary and malicious manner.”

He points out that he had received the news of his son’s execution among other young men from the region who were arrested in those raids, noting that the mass executions were carried out against them on the second day from their arrest coinciding on August 16, 2015, and all of them were done on the site (osifrah water course) as described.

It is reported that he received the news of his son’s execution after mass burial procedures of victims had taken place, by a group of the city people who found their bodies in the water course, where people used to see the bodies of the executions victims, while passing near the water course, intermittently.

The victim’s father did not indicate who arrested his son and the execution was carried out due to the consequences that he would face later, if it is referred to or named, but he confirmed with other people of the neighborhood that the party who raided homes and arrested and carried out the crimes of mass executions, is the same entity that controlled the area at that time on August 15, 2015.

In response to his question about the reasons that led to the arrests and mass executions to the victims, he replied: “This is due to false accusations, that they used to chewing (qat) with Houthis, while they were in control of the province building at that time.

He refuted those accusations as false rumors. Some ideological members issued it from the neighborhood who belong to that party. In this regard, the report adds that after verification and gathering information, it was found that the armed groups that took control of the province building on August 15, 2015 was a fighter affiliated with Islah Party, who are still present at the moment in that area.

Field executions on the front lines

the report notes that cases of suspicion, and apprehension led to death hysteria and reigned harshly at that point in the war, It also controlled the mental abilities of those in charge of maintaining security and peace in the city, until suspicion has become a behavior in dealing with others and determining their fate through it, and deprivation from the right to life.

Crimes were committed against innocent civilians who were subjected to field executions, far from the judiciary and the law just once suspected.

The report also confirms and in places where military actions (fighting fronts) are taking place.

“Those victims were not involved in it, they were forced to come to it against their will, after they were kidnapped from their areas of residence in the city, they were executed as soon as they reached the battlefront, by firing live bullets at them, through the authorities responsible for the front we are dealing with.” Report confirms.

The most prominent of these fronts, which witnessed the execution of innocents, is Jabal Jarrah front, which was run at the time by military forces belonging to the 22nd Mecha Brigade and fighters from Islah Party, and elements of what is known as the popular resistance.

(A.Sh.A.) One of the fighters participating in Jabal Jarrah front at that time, he was not a military man, but an ordinary citizen like other citizens who went out to defend on their city. He testified about what was happening there.

He says that he was present at Jabal al-Jarrah front in the second half of 2015, he witnessed cases of extrajudicial executions at different times while he was at the front.

He explains that these crimes were carried out by shooting on victims with Kalashnikovs and aimed the back of the victims.

It is reported that the people who were executed are civilians; they are brought from the city and not from the individuals involved in the front in which he is fighting.

(A.Sh.A.) was not aware at the time of the reasons for those executions that were carried out against civilian victims by those responsible on the battlefront. But his colleagues told him that these executions are carried out on those who are suspected of having ties to Houthis, and they are brought to the front for that.

He points out that a young man who lives in Al-Jumhouri neighborhood in the city was brought to the front and the death penalty was executed as soon as he was brought from his home.

He adds, “When an armed group of Islah fighters went to the area where the victim lives, to arrest his older brother, who works (judge), they are suspected of having ties to Houthis the judge was not at home at the time his younger brother was arrested instead of him and brought to the front site and executed him.”

Then (A.S.) decided to withdraw immediately from the front and the resistance in general, he returned to his village, where he remains to this day, in protest to the executions of innocents there.

Executions in prisons and secret prisons

The report indicates that repressive campaigns inside the city subjected thousands of civilians to arbitrary arrests and executions, Islah party militias and extremist organizations carried out through the security squares that they controlled in the city. He described what happened as serious violations that constituted a flagrant violation to international humanitarian law.

The former detainee (T.Y.S.), from Taiz city, is currently undergoing psychiatric treatment.

 “I was among the civilian detainees in the detention center (the building of the Central Organization for Control and Accountability), which was controlled by Islah party militias, the terrifying period of my detention was in the second half of 2015 .”

He asserts, “I did not understand my presence in this place without convincing reasons or justifications

I deserve from him what has befallen me from the psychological harm that haunts me until now. My life turned into a terrible nightmare because of what I went through inside that frightening prison.”

He points out, “The main reason for my bad psychological suffering that I am currently undergoing is as a result of the torture acts that were inflicted on me. Most of it is psychological torture used in cruel, brutal methods without mercy.”

He explains, “I cannot explain the methods of torture accurately and easily practiced by a group experienced in murder and criminality against us, nor can we describe them as human beings at all, for their hard heart and filled with grudges and diseases and stripped of humanity”.

He points out, “The most severe and most painful methods of psychological torture that I have been subjected to, it is the constant threat of death and brandishing knives as a means of slaughter, and pass it on the neck area in a scary way repeatedly, to force us to talk about things we don’t know anything  about absolutely”.

He adds, “There are other methods of torture, less severe than the aforementioned methods, all of them led to our breaking and smashing from within and weakening our psychological and moral capabilities.”

About his observations during his detention, which lasted for nearly seven months, in that prison, which he described as a frightening and terrifying place. Scenes come in the context of continuous psychological torture at the time.

He says, “One night, while I was in the preventive detention alone, suddenly, three people from the prison entered my room, accompanied by one of the arrested victims, when he entered the room, they shoot him directly, and then he was immediately taken out of the room, his execution took only a few minutes, without a word from them, they did not say a word.

He explains his situation at the time, “It is the only time that I witness executions carried out near of me.” and in the place of my imprisonment in this provocative manner, which is one of the cruel methods of psychological torture, as it caused me a state of fatigue and doubled my psychological pain.”

He asserts, “It is another view that has been repeated many times

It was in the first days of my detention that I was quietly and cautiously looking out the window of the room in which I was watching people doing drilling in the yard of the National Institute building, next door to the prison building we are in the drillings were in the form of mass graves, and were very close to my place.”

He adds, “What prompted me to say that they are mass graves, it is the same period in which the wave of field executions was witnessed in a random manner, as a result of the turmoil that the city witnessed at the beginning of the war on Taiz city.”

In addition to what was stated in the testimony of the former detainee, the victim (T. Y. S.) about the mass graves.  Haq’s human rights report cited on a government source confirming it, the report said that the organization has hides about his name and description due to security considerations.

The source says that the building of Water Corporation, which is located on the eastern side of the city center, has carried out mass burials to the victims of field executions in and around it.

According to the report, the source specified the period for burials in those mass graves as being in the first phase of the war in 2015. It is the period during which executions took place in a large proportion in the city.

……………….

Quoted from the platform of Taiz Street – Riyadh Al-Sama’i

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