A Yemeni model who was abducted and imprisoned by the Houthis said the militia sought to recruit her as a spy in exchange for her freedom, according to people who visited her in jail on Monday.
Entesar Al-Hammadi and two colleagues were abducted by Houthis in Sanaa on Feb. 20. They spent 10 days in the Sanaa Criminal Investigation Department before being transferred to the central prison.
One of those who visited Al-Hammadi told Arab News, on condition of anonymity, that the Houthis sought to recruit the model and the two other women by proposing they take part in cloak-and-dagger operations and install listening devices inside opponents’ houses in return for their swift release.
The Houthis threw her in prison when she refused. They also banned her lawyer and relatives from visiting her while also resisting local and international pressure to free her, she told the visitors.
Monday’s group comprised activists, politicians, lawyers, journalists and members of the Houthi-run Shoura Council and parliament.
Al-Hammadi told them the Houthis had framed her on charges of drug possession and prostitution to keep her in prison, according to a Facebook post from one of her visitors, Abdul Wahab Qatran, who is a judge.
A local prosecutor who questioned her found no basis for the accusations and ordered her release.
The Houthis blindfolded the model, took her fingerprints on an unidentified file and briefly put her into a brothel, Qatran wrote.
A Yemeni actor and model who was abducted by Houthi rebels is now threatening a hunger strike if she is not released or granted a day in court.— Middle East Eye (@MiddleEastEye) April 19, 2021
Entesar al-Hammadi went missing along with two other women in the capital Sanaa two months ago pic.twitter.com/RpYvbzxWPs
Her prison visitors said they would keep pressuring the rebels until they released the three women.
Angered by the intense media coverage of the case, the Houthis banned news outlets in their areas from reporting on it and banned her lawyer from speaking to international media outlets. They dismissed the prosecutor who ordered her release.
Earlier this month, Amnesty International said the Houthis were planning to subject the model to forced virginity tests and that she had been physically and verbally abused by her captors.
Yemenis have expressed dismay over the Houthis’ treatment of the abducted women.
“If the Persian Houthi militia belonged to Yemeni territory, they would not treat the free Yemeni women this way,” Abdul Wahab Tawaf, a former ambassador, tweeted. “Our solidarity is with Entesar Al-Hammadi and any other Yemeni woman who encountered this criminal group.”
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