Houthis abduct former Culture Minister Khaled Al-Rowaishan from his home in Sana’a
Former Minister of Culture Khaled Al-Rowaishan was abducted by the Houthis on Sunday morning from his home in the capital Sana’a, where he has resided since the start of the war.
“My father was kidnapped by the Houthi group half an hour ago,” Al-Rowaishan’s son, Wadhah, wrote on his Facebook page early Sunday morning, without expanding.
With hundreds of thousands of followers online, Al-Rowaishan is one of the most prominent commentators on social and political issues in Yemen. In his public posts, Al-Rowaishan has regularly criticized all of the major Yemeni parties and groups, including the Houthis, despite continuing to reside in Sana’a.
The incident has quickly drawn widespread condemnation from Yemeni activists and officials, who are calling for Al-Rowaishan’s immediate release.
“The Houthis committed a new folly by arresting the poet, writer, and free-word icon Khaled Al- Rowaishan,” said former Prime Minister Ahmed Obaid Bin Dagher, who now serves as advisor to President Hadi. “It was done before [the Houthis] by Yahya Hamid Al-Deen and his son Ahmed by filling prisons with free Yemenis, but the prisons of Hamid Al-Deen did not prevent the revolution, change, and a new dawn,” Bin Dagher said, referring to the imams of the historic Imamate in Yemen’s north.
Human Rights Minister Mohammed Askar condemned in the strongest terms the arrest of Al-Rowaishan, who he referred to as a pro-republic intellectual, and called on “everyone to pressure the Houthis to release him unconditionally.”