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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 18 June 2018

Yemeni activists launch a campaign to save a woman from execution by the Houthis

The mother of two was arrested along with her father and two other men

A Yemeni walks through a market in the old city of Sana'a on 19 January 2018. Yahya Arhab / EPA
A Yemeni walks through a market in the old city of Sana'a on 19 January 2018. Yahya Arhab / EPA

Lawyers and activists in Yemen launched a social media campaign in an effort to save the life of a 23-year-old woman sentenced to death by the Houthi rebels.

Asmaa Al Omaisi, a mother of two, was arrested along with her father and two other men on October 5, 2016 while travelling from Ibb governorate to the capital Sanaa, according to activists. Her father was later released.

She and two men were sentenced to death last week by the Iran-backed militia for allegedly spying for the Arab coalition, which is fighting the rebels on behalf of the internationally recognised government. A third man was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

According to one activist, Hayat, Al Omaisi was beaten and tortured at the central prison, where she was detained, to force out a confession.

She would also be questioned late at night and forbidden to sleep, Hayat tweeted.

People on social media were using the hashtag #SaveAsmaaAlOmaisi to get the attention of international human rights organisations and media.

“We are sending out an appeal to all humanity and human rights defenders to save Asmaa before [the Houthis] execute her,” Noor Surib, an activist, told The National.

Elsewhere on Friday the Yemeni army made new gains in Taez, as part of the ongoing operation to retake the southern province from Houthi rebels.

Yemeni troops backed by the Arab coalition liberated Lawzm castle, in eastern Taez province "amid fierce battle with the Houthi militia," said Tariq Al Mulaiki, a journalist embedded with the Yemeni army.

Also on Friday the army repelled a Houthi attack on Al Selw highway, during which Houthi Major General Mohammed Ali Abdulkhaleq was killed alongside other fighters.

South of Taez city, in the Al Sallal hill and Saber Al Mawadem area, Houthi militants came under tank and mortar attack.

North of the city, the Arab-led coalition launched seven airstrikes on armoured vehicles. The vehicles were "affiliated with Al Houthi militia," a military source on the ground told The National.

On Saturday a commander in the Yemeni army was killed in Qatabah district, Al Dalea province, when an explosive device was placed in his vehicle.

"Lt. Maeen Al Shamsi the commander of the air defense unit in the 83rd brigade which is located in Murais area in Al Dalea province ... was killed with some of his guards and others were injured," Fawzi Al Muraisi a journalist in Qatabah district told The National.

The Saudi-led Arab coalition intervened in the Yemen civil war in 2015 to help restore the legitimate government of president Abdrabu Mansur Hadi. It has also committed $1.5 billion (Dh5.5bn) in humanitarian aid for the country, in which more than 10,000 people have been killed since the war broke out.

Late Friday, financial representatives from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, US and UK met in Riyadh to discuss ways to support the central bank of Yemen, reported the state-run Saudi Press Agency.

This follows Saudi Arabia's announcement last month to deposit $2bn in Yemen's central bank to prop up the currency and ease hunger.

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