Houthi court in Yemen sentences model Entesar al-Hammadi to five years in prison

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A court controlled by the Iran-backed Houthi militia sentenced a Yemeni model to five years in prison on Sunday after she was held for eight months.

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Entisar al-Hammadi, 20, and a friend were sentenced to prison by the West Sanaa Court, Al Arabiya reported, citing Yemeni legal sources.

The pair were detained on their way to a photo session on February 20.

Two other women were arrested in an apartment in Sanaa and charged with prostitution and sentenced to prison for three years and one year respectively.

Al-Hammadi’s lawyer reportedly claims she was physically and verbally abused by interrogators, subjected to racist insults, forced to sign a document while blindfolded, and threatened with a “virginity test” by prosecutors, the BBC reported.

Human Rights Watch said in an earlier report that the Iran-backed Houthis are trying al-Hammadi unfairly.

In May, human rights organization Amnesty International stated that she was forced to confess to several crimes, including drug possession and prostitution.

Born to a Yemeni father and an Ethiopian mother, the young woman worked as a model for four years and acted in two Yemeni television series in 2020.

Yemeni model Entisar al-Hammadi photographed with her friends. (Supplied)
Yemeni model Entisar al-Hammadi photographed with her friends. (Supplied)

At the time of her detention, members of her family told Human Rights Watch that she was the sole breadwinner for her family of four, including her blind father and her brother who has a physical disability.

Rates of violence against women in Yemen are high, with more than 2.6 million girls and women having been victims of violence according to a 2020 report by the United Nations Population Fund.

The Houthi militia has been fighting a war against the internationally recognized government since 2015.

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