Rights groups condemn deadly attack on Yemen jail

Rights groups condemn deadly attack on Yemen jail
2 min read
06 April, 2020
Houthi rebels targeted the female section of the prison with mortar shells, according to the government's Saba news agency.
Houthi rebels targeted the female section of the prison with mortar shells [Getty]
Two international rights groups on Monday condemned an attack on a prison in Yemen's besieged city of Taiz that left six women and a child dead.

The internationally-recognised government has accused Iran-aligned Houthi rebels of carrying out Sunday's attack.

The rebels targeted the female section of the prison with mortar shells, according to the government's Saba news agency.

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said its hospital in Taiz received the casualties.

"MSF-supported Al-Thawra Hospital in Taez city received the bodies of six women and one child who were killed in an attack on the central prison in Taez," it said on Twitter.

The government said 28 other female prisoners were wounded.

"Taez citizens continue to suffer from the ongoing violence in the sixth year of the protracted conflict in Yemen," MSF said.

"These attacks on civilians, whether indiscriminate or targeted, are unjustifiable breaches of international humanitarian law."

The International Committee of the Red Cross said attacks on prisons were banned under international law.

"The ICRC deplores yesterday's attack on Taez central prison that left women and children dead and injured," the ICRC said on Twitter.

"Prisons and their inmates are protected under international humanitarian law and can not be a targeted, it said.

Read also: Yemen in Focus: Houthi attack on Riyadh a 'bargaining chip' amid ongoing talks

Taiz, a city of 600,000 people in southwest Yemen, is under government control but has been under siege by rebels for the past six years.

Tens of thousands of Yemenis have been killed in more than five years of fighting that has devastated the impoverished Arab nation.

Yemen's broken healthcare system has so far recorded no case of the Covid-19 illness, but aid groups have warned that when it does hit, the impact will be catastrophic. 

The country is already gripped by what the UN calls the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

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