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  • Tuesday, June 4, 2024 at 4:47 AM
    Last Update : Thursday, June 6, 2024 at 7:45 AM

Yemeni Official: Houthis Bypassed Prisoner Swap Deals with Govt

(AWP) - A Yemeni official has accused the Houthi group of “circumventing” deals brokered by the international community regarding prisoner swaps with the Yemeni government, one week after the Houthis released 113 detainees in a step they called a “unilateral initiative.”

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) announced last week that the Houthis had released the 113 captives, describing the step as “positive,” and one that would lead to a revival of the negotiations on the implementation of the Stockholm agreement, agreed by both sides in 2018.

However, Osama al-Sharmy, Undersecretary of the Yemeni Ministry of Information, termed the step “an attempt to circumvent” the agreements, which stipulated the release of all detainees held by both sides.

“The agreement with the Houthis – whether in Kuwait, Geneva, Stockholm regarding al-Hodeidah province, and in the recent truce – was that the hostage release would be on the basis of ‘all for all,’” Sharmy said in an interview with Arab World Press (AWP).

“The deal was that we would release the Houthi fighters in return for their release of Yemeni citizens detained in earlier periods from their homes in the capital, Sana’a. Now the Houthi militia seeks to go around this deal by releasing 100 people in a so-called ‘unilateral initiative,’ in ‘good faith.’”

“What good faith are the Houthis talking about, when they release one hundred people while the deal is all for all?” asked the Yemeni official.

“There are captives who have contracted chronic diseases, and detainees whose families know nothing about their whereabouts. Mohamed Qahtan is still detained by this group, and they have not revealed anything about his fate or location,” explained Sharmy.

Qahtan is a politician and a leading member of the Yemeni Congregation for Reform (al-Islah) Party. He was detained by the Houthi group inside his own house in 2015.

“The Houthis’ initiative was nothing but an attempt to circumvent the deal. Any response to this attempt will only lead to the success of the Houthi militia’s plot to go around the agreements sponsored by the international community,” Sharmy stressed.