You wouldn’t know it from reading mainstream media’s take on Yemen, but the Sana’a government has granted amnesty to over 200 coup plotters and initiated anti-human trafficking reforms.
Yemeni state news agency Saba reported on Wednesday that the Sana’a government (controlled by the Houthis) had released 209 political prisoners. Ansarullah (aka. the Houthis) arrested these detainees following a failed coup in December of 2017.
Marking International World Trafficking Day, Ansarullah also issued a new anti-human trafficking law comprised of 45 articles and seven chapters.
Saudi Arabia Feeds Human Trafficking in Yemen
Human trafficking is a primary human rights concern in Yemen. As usual, Saudi Arabia holds a lot of the blame. Human traffickers usually target young boys in Yemen where they are taken across the Saudi border to work as slaves in a variety of unskilled positions. Sexual exploitation is also common.
Many young girls also fall victim to sex trafficking within Yemen as well as after transport to Saudi Arabia. Still, a majority of human trafficking victims in Yemen are boys. In nearly all cases, children or teenagers are the primary victims.
December Coup and Betrayal
Before December of 2017, Ansarullah allied with the former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his party: the General Peoples Congress (GPC). Their main enemy throughout the course of the war was the US-backed and Saudi-led aggression and invasion of Yemen which began in March of 2015.
Sometime during the summer, Saleh betrayed the fragile alliance by colluding with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Behind closed doors, Saleh planned to betray Ansarullah by initiating a coup. Initially planned for August, plans fell through due to heightened suspicions throughout Yemen’s capital Sana’a.
Saleh and his new alliance of aggression held off the coup until early December. At that point, Saleh appeared on TV for the first time in months declaring the end of his alliance with Ansarullah and his support for the US-backed Saudi-led coalition.
A battle ensued between Ansarullah and forces loyal to the General Peoples Congress with Saudi Arabia providing air support to the GPC. As Saleh watched his plan backfire, he decided to flee. That’s when Ansarullah forces assassinated him for his betrayal.
As Ansarullah took full control of Sana’a, they initiated a sweep to round up suspected coup plotters. In late December, they issued a Republican Decree granting amnesty to all coup plotters not charged with murder. Now, 209 of those political prisoners have been released.