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Saudi attack on Yemeni funeral, heinous war crime: Activist

20 October 2016 16:53

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A Saudi airstrike early in October on a funeral for the father of Interior Minister Jalal al-Roweishan in the Yemeni capital Sana’a, where more than 140 people were killed and over 525 wounded, has drawn global condemnation. Saudi Arabia initially denied responsibility for the fatal attack but it finally admitted that the attack was launched by one of its warplanes, which “wrongly targeted” the funeral gathering.

William Spring, a human rights activist, says the attack on the funeral ceremony is a “heinous war crime,” adding that it is the Saudi royal family in Riyadh who are responsible for it.

He also stated this massacre is particularly “negative” in terms of people’s perception of the Saudi regime.

The activist went on to say the Saudis cannot simply carry on with this “nonsensical, criminal bombardments” of Yemen.

“Yemenis are fairly harmless. They are having a dispute among themselves but that is the way things have gone. There has been no reason for Saudi Arabia to become involved in the conflict. They should accept the fact, the need for non-interference in the internal affairs of another state, but that is not where the Saudis are at the moment,” he said.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the activist expressed hope that the fresh ceasefire in Yemen will continue and become the basis for a new settlement that can sort things out in the war-torn country.

“Yemen is a wonderful country and it is sad to see the destruction that the Saudis have inflicted upon the Yemenis, the monstrous loss of life they have suffered,” he stated.

Spring further noted the Saudis are “irresponsible” and “criminal” in their behavior towards the Yemeni people and their own citizens particularly those in Eastern Province.

He is of the opinion that there needs to be a procedure that brings the Saudis back into compliance with international humanitarian law.

However, he said, the United States, Britain and France also need to be in compliance with international law in the various conflicts they are engaged in, particularly in Yemen and Syria.

According to the activist, Saudi Arabia has committed terrible war crimes in Yemen, arguing that it should be boycotted and all arms trade with the kingdom should be stopped.

“The people [who] are to blame is the actual defense and military establishment in Riyadh. They are to blame and they need to be stopped. The British aerospace should not have any further dealings with the Saudi regime. No country should be supplying them with arms or weapons that they really are not capable of using them,” he said.

Saudi Arabia’s military onslaught against Yemen, which started in March 2015, has so far claimed the lives of at least 10,000 people, according to the UN.

The war was launched in an unsuccessful attempt to restore power to Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, a staunch ally of Riyadh, who has resigned as Yemen’s president but seeks to forcefully return to power.

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