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UK foreign secretary praises Saudi Arabia, Oman for efforts to secure release of Briton

April 24, 2022
British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss praised on Sunday the great efforts of Saudi Arabia and the Sultanate of Oman in securing the release of the British citizen who was detained by the Houthi militias since April 2017.
British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss praised on Sunday the great efforts of Saudi Arabia and the Sultanate of Oman in securing the release of the British citizen who was detained by the Houthi militias since April 2017.

Saudi Gazette report

LONDON — The British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss praised on Sunday the great efforts of Saudi Arabia and the Sultanate of Oman in securing the release of the British citizen who was detained by the Houthi militias since April 2017.

“I pay tribute to our Omani and Saudi partners and our team for securing his release,” she said in the statement posted on her Twitter account.

Houthi militias freed 14 foreigners, including a British national, who were held in Yemen, and they were transferred from the Houthi-controlled Yemeni capital Sanaa to Muscat on Sunday.

The people freed included a British man, his wife and child, seven Indian nationals, a Filipino, an Indonesian, an Ethiopian and a Myanmar national, Oman’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The British government identified the Briton as Luke Symons, saying he had been held without charge or trial since 2017.

“Luke was 25 when he was unlawfully detained by the Houthis. His son was only a few months old at the time,” Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said in the statement.

“Delighted that Luke Symons, who was unlawfully detained, without charge or trial since 2017 in Yemen by the Houthis, has been released and will shortly be reunited with his family. He was allegedly mistreated, in solitary confinement, and refused visits by his family,” Truss said.

The Houthi militia had detained Symons from the Yemeni capital Sanaa, on charges of spying for Britain, a claim vehemently denied by his family. No charges were ever formally filed against him in any court in Yemen after his detention.

His family alleged that Symons’s arm was broken during an interrogation in an attempt to force him to confess, noting that his physical and mental health had deteriorated while he was in solitary confinement.

The Omani Foreign Ministry said that after communicating with Saudi Arabia to facilitate issuance of the necessary permits, all 14 were transferred on an Oman Royal Air Force plane to the Omani capital, in preparation for their return to their countries.

“The Sultanate of Oman coordinated with the concerned authorities in Sanaa to secure the release of the British, Indonesian, Indian and Filipino nationals in Yemen, and after communicating with Saudi Arabia to facilitate the issuance of the necessary permits,” the ministry said.

The Saudi-led Arab Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen controls Yemen’s sea and air space while Oman is not a member of the Coalition. Earlier this month, the warring sides in Yemen’s seven-year conflict agreed to a nationwide truce for the first time in years, under a UN-brokered deal.


April 24, 2022
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