352 Yemenis released on second day of prisoner swap

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Sat 17 Oct 2020 03:59 AST (Dated Thu 15 Oct 2020) Freed Saudi-led coalition prisoners pray as they arrive after their release in a prisoner swap, at Sayoun airport in Yemen on October 15, 2020. (REUTERS/Ali Owidha)
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A Houthi prisoner is carried into a plane to be transported to Sanaa airport as he is released by the Arab coalition in a prisoner swap, at Sayoun airport in Yemen on October 15, 2020. (REUTERS/Ali Owidha)
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Freed Arab coalition prisoners wave as they arrive after their release in a prisoner swap, at Sayoun airport in Yemen on October 15, 2020. (REUTERS/Ali Owidha)
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Updated 17 October 2020

352 Yemenis released on second day of prisoner swap

  • The exchange of prisoners was brokered by the International Committee of the Red Cross

ALMUKALLA: At least five planes managed by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on Friday ferried 352 prisoners to Yemeni airports in the last phase of a major prisoner swap, the ICRC, local officials and residents said.

The ICRC said its planes transferred 1,056 former prisoners over two days on several flights between Aden, Sanaa and Seiyun airports.

“We’re happy to see the completion of the release and transfer of 1,056 former detainees, which was carried out with the Yemen Red Crescent and the Saudi Red Crescent Authority,” the ICRC said. “We’re encouraged by this success and hope that it leads to more steps toward the transfer and release of more detainees in the future.”   

Majed Fadhail, deputy minister of human rights, told Arab News that 151 government prisoners were traded with 201 Houthis on the second day of the operation.

A day earlier, the Yemeni government traded 470 Houthis with 221 of its prisoners, including five journalists, in addition to 15 Saudis and four Sudanese, under a UN-sponsored deal. The two-day operation was described by the UN envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, as the largest of “its kind in the history of the conflict in Yemen.”

Official media reported on Thursday that Yemen’s President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi ordered necessary medical services for some of the released. At the same time, hundreds gathered on Friday in the government-controlled cities of Aden and Seiyun to welcome the freed prisoners. Several large buses carrying dozens of former abductees forced their way into a large number of people who were carrying the Yemeni flag and flowers.


Iran imposes new restrictions to stem coronavirus spread

Updated 31 October 2020

Iran imposes new restrictions to stem coronavirus spread

  • Rouhani announced new restrictions that will take effect on Wednesday in 25 of Iran’s 31 provinces for 10 days
  • Police will make unannounced visits to other high-risk businesses, and those that violate health protocols will be shut down

Weddings, wakes and conferences will be banned in the Iranian capital until further notice as the Middle East’s hardest-hit nation battles a third wave of COVID-19, police said on Saturday.
President Hassan Rouhani meanwhile announced new restrictions that will take effect on Wednesday in 25 of Iran’s 31 provinces for 10 days.
The official IRNA news agency said Tehran police had extended by one week the closure of businesses including beauty salons, teahouses, cinemas, libraries and fitness clubs.
Police will make unannounced visits to other high-risk businesses, and those that violate health protocols will be shut down, IRNA quoted police official Nader Moradi as saying.
Deputy Health Minister Alireza Raisi said in a televised press briefing that the new restrictions from next week in the 25 provinces and 89 counties will include include the closure of institutions such as schools, universities, libraries and mosques.
Rouhani said in televised remarks that strict health protocols should be observed when holding weddings and funerals in those provinces and counties.
Iranian authorities have blamed a sharp increase in cases on people failing to follow restrictions, and Rouhani said an operations headquarters will be set up to ensure compliance with the health protocols.
Total COVID-19 deaths rose by 386 over the past 24 hours to reach 34,864, health ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari told state TV on Saturday, adding total cases rose by 7,820 to 612,772.