Decreasing crisis between authority and al-Houthi [Archives:2005/883/Front Page]

October 6 2005

Hassan Al-Zaidi
SANA'A – Oct. 5 – President Ali Abdullah Saleh has ordered a committee to be formed in order to release the remaining of the detainees linked to rebel cleric Al-Houthi. The committee will include Ministry of Interior, Political Security, Public Prosecution, and some religious scholars.

A source from the Ministry of Interior said that the government has released 404 persons so far. They are all followers of al-Houthi. They were set free on condition that they stop repeating slogans against America and Israel.

Still, al-Houthi followers in al-Naq'aa district on the Yemeni-Saudi borders insist on repeating slogans against America and Israel, because they feel it is their right as a religious group. And Abdul-Malik al-Houthi said that his followers will go on repeating the slogans. He accused the authority of delaying its decisions and also accused the governorate leadership of trying to extend the crisis, because the government leaders want to escalate the crisis for their benefit.

A tribesman from Th'ulah was killed during the confrontations and three others from both sides were wounded close to Naqa'an district. But the full number of confrontations between al-Houthi and tribal elements is not known.

Many prominent al-Houthi followers have been detained, and the courts have not released the 36 persons who stood trial along with prominent Zeidi scholars. Scholars included Yahya Hussien al-Dailami and Mohammed Meftah who have been sentenced to death, Mohammed Ali Luqman who has been sentenced to 13 years in prison, and Sharaf al-Nu'aemi. Around 800 people were detained after the events in Saada, which caused 800 people to die.

Presidential amnesty was issued on the anniversary of the 26 September Revolution to mark the decreasing crisis between the authorities and al-Houthi followers. The amnesty also lessens the tension and complaints of the detainees' families.

The continued apprehension of a number of believing youths is a clear indication that the authority wants them to meet some conditions in exchange for release, so that it is possible to avoid confrontation in the future. Some of these youths have never been involved in such confrontations with the government, but have been detained because they are followers of al-Houthi.

On the other hand, security forces carried out a number of arrests among the Zaidis in Harf Sofian area in Sada'a, north of Sana'a. The arrests took place in some mosques last Monday morning. 60 persons were detained and sent to prison. The arrests came shortly after the amnesty declared by the president.

No one of Alhothi followers has been freed so far. Hasan Zaid, member of Alhaq Islamic opposition party, said that there are government parties who want to undermine the president's amnesty resolutions and who want to escalate the crisis for their own benefit.

In a related event, battles took place between Alhothi followers, who are entrenched in the mountains, and a group of Al-naalah tribe, who tried to storm these mountains. One person died and three persons from both of the tribes were injured.

The crisis between the authorities and Alhoti followers is still going on. Sources say that more than 800 people are still in prison due to the bloody battles that broke out in June 2004.