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Newsline: US calls on Yemen’s Houthis to release its local embassy staff

The United States has renewed its call for Yemen’s Houthis to release detained US embassy staff after the death of a retired employee of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) who was in the rebels’ custody. The US embassy in Sanaa paid tribute to the late staffer, Abdulhameed Al-Ajami, calling him a “proud Yemeni dedicated to educating Yemeni children”. “We extend our condolences to his loved ones and call on the Houthis to end this injustice and release every single current and former US Embassy employee now,” the embassy said in a statement shared on Twitter. The Associated Press news agency cited an unidentified international aid worker as saying that Al-Ajami, who was never charged with a crime, suffered from moderate kidney failure – a condition that worsened during his time in detention without access to medical aid. The US Department of State had said that Al-Ajami “had no contact with his family during the last six months of his life”. “The United States has been unceasing in its diplomatic efforts to secure the release of our Yemeni staff in Sanaa,” spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement. “We demand the Houthis release detained current and former US employees.” (https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/5/26/us-calls-on-yemens-houthis-to-release-its-local-embassy-staff) Washington had shut down its embassy in Yemen’s capital Sanaa in 2015 as the country’s civil war intensified. The Houthis seized the compound that housed the diplomatic post last October. The rebels also detained dozens of former local employees.

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