Crime & Justice

Yemen court holds 4th hearing in Houthi leader trial

By Nabil Abdullah al-Tamimi in Aden

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A supporter of the Houthis holds a portrait of militia leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi during a protest in Sanaa on September 11th, 2015. [Mohammed Huwais/AFP]

Marib Military Court on Tuesday (October 13th) held its fourth public hearing in the trial of Houthi leader Abdul Malik al-Houthi and 174 other Houthi leaders.

During this session of the ongoing trial, which opened July 7th, the prosecution was allowed to bring in witnesses and present evidence of charges made against the defendants.

Charges include staging a coup against the Yemeni government, establishing a relationship with Iran, and participating in the formation of an armed terrorist organisation, Ansarallah, with the help of military commanders from Lebanon's Hizbullah and Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

During Tuesday's hearing, with military court chief Aqeel Taj al-Din presiding, the prosecution said it had presented written evidence, in line with the court's decisions.

This consisted of 175 files, with a compact disc for each file, as well as the victims' files, together with medical reports issued by government hospitals.

The prosecution also reviewed evidence related to the killing of 310th Brigade Commander Maj. Gen. Hamid al-Qashibi, and examined the forensic reports on how he was killed and mutilated after he was arrested.

The prosecution asked the court to allow it to bring further evidence.

Al-Qashibi was killed by Houthi gunmen in July 2014 in Amran province as he tried to stop their advance on Sanaa, which the Houthis later captured in September 2014 as part of their coup.

Trial will continue October 28th

Lawyers for the victims' families demanded that the intelligence and government agencies quickly refer to trial the defendants who were arrested on the battlefields for their direct participation in the coup.

They said the war in Yemen has not been classified as an international conflict, which means that Yemen's judicial authorities have the right to try the coupists as per the laws in effect and international treaties Yemen has signed.

The court reviewed its previous decisions on the seizure of the defendants' properties and assets and procedures to have them arrested and extradited through Interpol.

In addition to allowing the prosecution to present its witnesses and evidence, it allowed the defendants' lawyers to review the case file, and adjourned the trial to October 28th.

Legal advisor Hussein al-Mashdali, who serves on the national committee for the investigation of human rights violations, told Al-Mashareq the trial procedures are very important in proving the charges against al-Houthi and the others.

"The trial did not begin until the sixth year after the coup, which harmed the Yemeni state through the establishment of relations with a foreign state, i.e. Iran," he said.

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