After documenting 30 operations in Al Mahwit, and similar procedures in Dhamar and Amanat Al Asimah…The American Center for Justice (ACJ) condemns the confiscation of private property by the Houthis

The American Center for Justice (ACJ) is following up with strong condemnation the campaign carried out by the Houthi group to confiscate and loot the property of citizens in a number of governorates under their control, and how they justify these actions by describing the owners of these properties as traitors in measures that lack legitimacy and constitute a serious violation of the right of property that lead to deepening the social rift caused by such actions. These actions also go beyond their political opponents to affect their relatives, neighbors, and those who have any connection with them.

During the past few days, the center followed up how houses, farms, wells and shops were confiscated in Amanat al-Asimah  and the governorates of Dhamar and Al Mahwit, through what is known as the “Central Committee charged with completing legal procedures against those involved in treason,” which was formed by the “Receiver,” a device established by the Houthi group’s decision that violates the constitution and the law, to confiscate the property and funds of citizens, political and legal activists, media professionals, agencies, parties and organizations. While the aforementioned committee announced its intentions to confiscate property in the governorates of Ibb, Taiz, Amran and Saada, Houthi media outlets reported that the committee is holding meetings and discussions to start implementing the confiscation work in these governorates.

According to the available field and media information of the center, the aforementioned committee branch in Al-Mahwit governorate headed by Houthi leader Khaled Al-Khazan has confiscated more than 30 houses in various districts of the governorate, most of which are the homes and properties of political and civil figures who have been displaced since the beginning of this year.

The committee had started on November 8, 2021, and the robberies and seizure of homes and property began in the city of Al-Mahwit with the confiscation of the house of the activist Saddam Hussein. The group’s members demanded that the tenants pay the rent directly to them, and Saddam Muawadah stated that the supervisors forced the tenants in their house to sign rental agreements under the pretext of confiscating the house.

On February 28, the committee charged with seizing and confiscating property went to the Hafash district and launched a campaign to seize several houses in the district center, including the homes of political activist Muhammad Nasser al-Aqbi and his brothers, political activist Bashir al-Rifai, and the home of educational figure Othman Shaye al-Maqboul.

Two days before this incident, the Houthi leader in the city of Al-Mahwit, Muhammad Abdul-Mujib Sharaf Al-Din, had confessed to seizing the homes and properties of opponents of his group in the governorate, stressing that his group will continue to confiscate the homes and properties of the people from the province who work for legitimacy.

In the Al-Sabeen district of Sana’a governorate, the committee announced the confiscation of the properties of three personalities on March 1 and three other personalities in the Bani Al-Harith district on the following day.

In Dhamar Governorate, the committee carried out the confiscation and seizure of the properties of five personalities in Mayfa’a Ans district, including houses, agricultural lands and artesian wells. The Committee sated that it is implementing the ruling issued by the Specialized Criminal Court, and it marked the implementation of the confiscation ruling in red before moving to the city of Dhamar to implement the precautionary seizure of a house and shops belonging to four political figures.

The center obtained information that the Houthi group, through the committee, confiscated the properties of more than 30 civilian, military and political figures from the governorate during the past two months. Furthermore, during the past three days, the committee seized the properties of five military leaders, three tribal leaders and a social figure.

(ACJ) reiterates that the Specialized Criminal Court is neither constitutional nor legal, and its existence does not comply with the Yemeni constitution, the law of the judicial authority, and international charters and treaties, and that all its procedures contradict the principles of a fair and impartial judiciary. Also, the Supreme Judicial Council has previously issued a decision to abolish it, which makes whatever decisions issued by it completely void.

According to the sources of ACJ, the Houthi group is working on collecting data to list the properties of political and social figures in Dhamar governorate who were displaced to reside in Marib in preparation for their confiscation through forms prepared for this purpose while the committee intends, according to the statements of its leaders, to continue confiscation and looting to include all personalities who reject the influence of the Houthi group, whom the group describes as traitors.

The persons targeted by these procedures reside in areas outside the control of the Houthi group or outside the country to escape the arbitrary measures against them by the Houthi militia, and some of them face judgments and judicial procedures from the judicial organs run by the Houthi group.

The relatives of these figures face terrorism, arbitrary measures and constant threats, which amounted to storming homes, farms and shops, expelling them and preventing them from residing, working in or benefiting from them.

The American Center for Justice (ACJ) strongly condemns these violations, which it describes as complex violations and they include the abuse of the right to private property protected by the Constitution, local laws, and international treaties and agreements due to the political and social position and activism. The center considers such violations a continuation of the series of looting and confiscation carried out by the group against many businessmen, agencies and parties based on decisions that lack legitimacy and arbitrary measures aimed at strengthening the financial and economic position of the Houthi group, supporting its war effort, weakening its opponents and terrorizing all citizens and social and political forces from taking any position opposing the group.

The Center also warns that these measures come to confirm the intentions of the Houthi group to continue its control and influence, and not to make any concessions that would lead to peace and stability, in addition to inciting societal strife, harming civil security and peaceful coexistence among citizens.

The Center calls on the international community and the UN Panel of Experts to look into these procedures and practices, and deal with them seriously as part of efforts to end the crisis in Yemen, and stop the series of human rights violations in all its classifications.

Issued by American Center for Justice (ACJ)

March 6, 2022

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