128 detainees repatriated back to Yemen from Saudi Arabia
Geneva (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on Thursday, Nov. 28, 2019, facilitated the repatriation of 128 detainees from Saudi Arabia to Yemen following a request from the Coalition’s Joint Forces Command and in agreement with both parties.
Before the operation, the ICRC confirmed the detainees’ identities and verified that they wished to be repatriated via pre-departure interviews at Khamis Msheit prison.
The ICRC sees the release as a positive step and hopes that it will spur further releases and repatriations of conflict-related detainees.
“This release is excellent news for the freed detainees and their families in Yemen with whom they will be reunited,” said Kedir Awol Omar, the ICRC’s head of mission in Saudi Arabia. “We hope that the release of these 128 detainees but also the 290 detainees set free by Ansarullah on 30 September will create a positive dynamic and will allow more detainees to be reunited with their families.”
The released detainees were accompanied by ICRC delegates during their travel to Yemen. An ICRC medical staff member assessed the health condition of the detainees prior to the release and accompanied them, after the release and during the travel to respond to any medical needs; a treating doctor previously confirmed that the detainees were fit to travel and proposed specific accommodations that some required.
In Sanaa, the Yemen Red Crescent played an essential role during the operation with 19 volunteers and staff, among them five first aid specialists, who assisted and transferred patients in six ambulances, from the airport to a health facility, for medical follow up.
The ICRC is acting as a neutral intermediary and was not involved in any negotiations that preceded the release.
Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.
Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. He began writing in 1975 publishing The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper (2004-2007).
Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues as Special US Correspondent for the Arab News ArabNews.com, at TheArabDailyNews.com, and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday, the Orlando Sentinel, Houston Chronical, and Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.
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