Oman secures release of 14 foreigners held in Yemen: Ministry

DUBAI (REUTERS, AFP) – Oman facilitated the release of 14 foreigners who had been held in Yemen and transferred them from Houthi-controlled Sanaa to Muscat on Sunday (April 24), Oman’s overseas ministry mentioned.

The individuals freed included a British man, his spouse and little one, seven Indian nationals, a Filipino, an Indonesian, an Ethiopian and a Myanmar nationwide, the ministry added, with out giving particulars of what had led to their detention.  

The ministry mentioned that after speaking with Saudi Arabia to facilitate the issuance of the required permits, all 14 had been transferred on an Oman Royal Air Force airplane to the Omani capital, in preparation for his or her return to their international locations.

The British authorities recognized the Briton as Luke Symons, saying he had been held with out cost or trial since 2017.

“Luke was 25 when he was unlawfully detained by the Houthis.  His son was only a few months old at the time,” Foreign Secretary Liz Truss mentioned in an announcement.

“He was allegedly mistreated, in solitary confinement, and refused visits by his family,” Truss mentioned.  

Amnesty International mentioned in February that Symons traveled to Yemen in 2012 the place he met and married his Yemeni spouse. It mentioned he had been accused by the Houthis, de facto authorities in North Yemen, of spying for the British authorities although he was not formally charged with any crime.

He was detained alongside along with his spouse. His household strongly deny allegations of espionage.   

They say his arm was damaged throughout one interrogation in a bid to drive a confession, and that his bodily and psychological well being has degenerated throughout solitary confinement in the capital Sanaa.  

His spouse was launched and has been capable of go to him periodically in the jail, and lately voiced concern at his situation, in line with Symons’s grandfather Robert Cummings.

“Luke’s going through hell. He’s getting no medical attention, and we’ve been going backwards, not forward, with this (UK) government,” Cummings informed AFP by telephone in February from the household’s residence in Cardiff. 

Houthi chief negotiator Mohammed (*14*) mentioned on Twitter that the 14 had been launched after mediation by Oman however made no point out of the explanations or situations of the detentions.  

The Omani ministry mentioned that after speaking with Saudi Arabia to facilitate issuance of the required permits, all 14 had been transferred on an Oman Royal Air Force airplane to the Omani capital, in preparation for his or her return to their international locations.  

A Saudi-led coalition, which intervened in the Yemen warfare in March 2015 in opposition to the Iran-aligned Houthis, controls Yemen’s sea and air area. 

Oman will not be a member of the coalition.  Earlier this month, the warring sides in Yemen’s seven-year battle agreed to a nationwide truce for the primary time in years, below a U.N.-brokered deal. 

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