The religious leaders were detained after Emirati-backed secessionists wrested control of Yemen's interim capital Aden from the government in August
UAE deports Yemeni imams and preachers after months in prison
A group of Yemeni imams and preachers have returned to Yemen after some of them were imprisoned for months in Abu Dhabi.
The UAE deported a number of preachers and imams who were detained in the country after the Emirati-backed Southern Transitional Council (STC) wrested control of Aden from Yemen’s internationally recognized government in August, relatives of some of the preachers and an official in Yemen’s Interior Ministry told Almasdar Online.
Yesterday about 20 of the religious leaders were flown to Sieyun Airport in Yemen’s eastern Hadhramout governorate, while the families of some of them were deported by road, the sources said. Some family members remain in the Emirates.
A number of Yemeni preachers and imams still being held in Abu Dhabi prisons are expected to be deported at a later date, the sources said.
In recent years, the UAE has deported hundreds of Yemenis who hadn't committed any apparent violations of Abu Dhabi’s residency regulations, according to the deportees.
During Yemen's war, the UAE has aggressively targeted Salafist political and religious leaders, as well as those affiliated with Yemen’s Islamist Islah party, which Abu Dhabi generally considers to be a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, designated a terrorist organization in the Emirates. A Buzzfeed investigation in 2018 found that the UAE had hired American mercenaries to assassinate Islahi figures in Aden.