Instead of the Houthis and the government each swapping 1,420 prisoners, each side would release 1,030, with the remaining prisoners to be released at a future date, according to the Houthis
Houthis say UN proposes splitting first phase of prisoner exchange; government disagrees
The Houthis’ top official on prisoner affairs said Monday that the UN has proposed splitting up the first phase of a massive prisoner exchange agreed to in mid-March in Amman, as part of the Stockholm Agreement. Instead of each side releasing 1,420 prisoners, each side would release 1,030, with the remaining prisoners to be released at a future date.
Yemen is racing against the clock as it takes measure to mitigate the looming threat of COVID-19. Houthi authorities and the internationally recognized government have released nearly 800 prisoners in the past two weeks.
The claimed UN proposal was revealed in a tweet documented on Houthi-controlled Al-Masirah TV by the head of the Houthi-run National Committee for Prisoners’ Affairs, Abdelkader Al-Murtadha. The Houthis said they have agreed to the proposal.
The office of UN Special Envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, had not responded to a request for comment as of publication.
Majed Fadhel, Yemen’s deputy minister of human rights and a member of the team negotiating the prisoner swap, denied that the UN has proposed a split of phase one of the exchange.
“No formal proposal has arrived for the government from the UN envoy, and if it [does], we will [examine] it and respond,” he told Almasdar Online.
He pointed out that the prisoner exchange agreed to in Amman is already the first phase of a two-phase agreement. “So why break it up [further]?”
Editing by Ahlam Mohsen and Casey Coombs