SAM; On the International Day of Conscience, Targeting Female Prisoners in Taiz is a War Crime that Requires Urgent International Investigation SAM
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SAM; On the International Day of Conscience, Targeting Female Prisoners in Taiz is a War Crime that Requires Urgent International Investigation


SAM Organization for Rights and Liberties condemned on Monday, April 6, 2020, the heinous massacre committed on Sunday evening, April 5, 2020, on inmates of the central prison of Taiz governorate, as a result of the prison shelling by the Houthis militia with random shells. The crime coincided with the International Day of Conscience, which is celebrated by the world with the aim of encouraging the international community to resolve disputes peacefully.

The Geneva-based organization said in a statement that; while the world is calling to release of prisoners for fear of contracting the deadly Corona virus, Covid-19, the Houthis militia denied the detainees their right to life, with this indiscriminate bombing, which caused a heinous crime that shocked the humane conscience, on the International Day of Conscience.

SAM added: This horrific massacre was committed while the victims were awaiting their release By the judicial and local authorities in the governorate within the efforts made to confront the "Corona" epidemic following a visit made   by a judicial committee to the central prison in Taiz, in preparation for the release of female prisoners the next morning.

Eyewitnesses told SAM that; the indiscriminate shelling of the women's ward in the central prison killed (5) women and (2) children, the children were visiting their detained mothers; and approximately (7) women were injured, most of whom were transferred to hospitals in the city of Taiz, with severe head and limb injuries.

Witnesses confirmed that three shells targeted the site, including two that landed directly on the prison buildings, the first fell from an in the center of the building and hit its inner courtyard.

The third shell hit the main street in front of the prison and hit a water truck, wounding two civilians.

According to testimonies heard by SAM, all of these shells were fired from the northwestern part of the city of Taiz, where fighters belonging to the Houthis militia controlling that area were stationed.

Qamar Ali Taher, 21, told SAM that “one of the mothers of inmates, was killed next to her. At 5 p.m. on Sunday, April 5, 2020, a shell landed on the women's ward in the central prison in Taiz, and resulted in the death of 6 women and 8 were wounded, and about 15 minutes, after the first shell, another shell fell again in front of the ward gate while they were taking us from prison to the clinic, and after about ten minutes had passed the third shell fell in one of the walls of the ward, as if they were aiming directly at the women's ward.

Ahlam Saeed Ali Fadel, told SAM that “At five o'clock, most of the inmates in the women's ward were sitting in the yard because the hot weather inside the ward, and at about five o'clock a shell fell, and I was next to one of the prisoners named Najiba, She died directly because her injuries were serious and her features were completely deformed, I was shocked and I watched the victims, I did not understand what I see, I was shouting and went towards the main door of the ward, and I was seeing the blood and body parts of children and women, my 3-year-old daughter was injured in her hand, and my condition is difficult I do not know what to do, after about 4 minutes came paramedics, and they rescued injuries and deaths, and there is still shelling by the Houthis, and I think that the missiles came from its area controlled by the Houthis.

SAM Organization clarified that the targeted prison is a public establishment whose location cannot be ignored, which is likely to confirm that the targeting is intended by Houthis militia, and aims to harm civilians and civilian installations, which may amount to a war crime, especially as Houthis militia had previously targeted the prison, and they should have accurate coordinates of the prison's location.

SAM said that it had verified the scene, and found that the bombed prison is about half a kilometer away from the temporary administrative headquarters of a government military brigade, where there are no combat forces and not a source of direct fire, and that the shells fired are indiscriminate and non-discriminatory, and constitute a clear violation of the laws of war.


"SAM stressed that; the laws of war - which govern hostilities, prohibit indiscriminate attacks on military targets that may cause certain harm to civilians, or civilian targets without discrimination, and also prevent the fighting parties from using weapons lack precision that result in a great danger to civilians and civilian objects, like mortars and long range cannons.

In its statement, SAM called on the parties to the conflict to respect their obligations contained in the "Stockholm" agreement regarding the release of prisoners and detainees, and to respond to the international calls and human rights activists regarding the Corona epidemic, and called on the international community, the Security Council, and the office of the UN envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths, to compel the parties to expedite implement their obligations, and the obligations that international humanitarian law requires.

And to press for an end to the continuing violations against civilians in Yemen, to end the state of armed conflict, and to take effective steps leading to bring war criminals to justice and ensure non-impunity.

SAM Organization for Rights and Liberties, Geneva

April 6, 2020