Yemeni US embassy employee dies after months in Houthi rebel detention

Yemeni US embassy employee dies after months in Houthi rebel detention
2 min read
26 May, 2022
Yemeni US embassy employee Abdulhameed Al-Ajami died following months of detention by the country's Iran-backed Houthi rebels.
Houthi rebels have detained several US embassy employees in recent years [Getty]

A Yemeni former US embassy employee has died after months of detention by Houthi rebels, reported The New Arab’s Arabic-language service, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.

Abdulhameed Al-Ajami, a retired employee at the embassy in Sanaa, was reportedly found dead in a Houthi-controlled prison in the city on Tuesday.

Al-Ajami’s family is said to have been informed and has asked to retrieve his body, according to Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, and plans to bury him on Thursday.

US State Department spokesperson Ned Price offered his condolences to Al-Ajami’s family in an official statement.

"Al-Ajami had no contact with his family during the last six months of his life," the statement read.

The State Department also urged the Houthis to release any of its current and former US employees from detention.

In November last year, the Iran-backed Houthi rebels stormed the former US embassy compound in Sanaa, seized the property, and detained an unspecified number of locally employed staff.

Most of the staff were released, but the rebels continued to hold Yemeni employees of the embassy, including Al-Ajami. He was reportedly taken to an unknown location and had all his personal belongings confiscated.

The UN Security Council strongly condemned the incident, and ordered the immediate withdrawal of the Houthis from the long-closed embassy’s premises, as well as the immediate release of those being held.

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The Houthis abducted two more US embassy staff members in February of this year, according to The Associated Press. It remains unknown whether they were released or not.

The US closed its embassy in Sanaa in 2015 amid the onset of the Yemeni civil war between the Houthis and the Saudi-led Arab coalition, and subsequently assigned its embassy operations to Riyadh.