A British man imprisoned when his child was just a few months old has been released after serving five years in Yemen without charge or trial.
Luke Symons has been detained by Houthi rebels in Sanaa, the capital of the civil war-torn country, since his arrest at a security checkpoint in April 2017, according to Amnesty International.
Secretary of State Liz Truss said Mr Symons would be “soon to be reunited with his family” after an ordeal in which he was “allegedly mistreated and placed in solitary confinement”.
According to Reuters, Symons was released along with his wife and child.
Cardiff West MP Kevin Brennan had campaigned for the release of his voter and raised his unlawful imprisonment with Boris Johnson during the Prime Minister’s questions in January.
The Labor politician tweeted: “This is great news – after five years my constituent Luke Symons has finally been released from captivity.
“Thanks to everyone at the FCDO (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) and especially to Luke’s family for their tireless campaign.”
In a statement, Truss said: “I am pleased that Luke Symons, who has been unlawfully detained since 2017, has been released without charge or trial in Yemen.
“Luke was 25 when he was unlawfully detained by the Houthis. His son was only a few months old at the time.”
He was reportedly assaulted, in solitary confinement, and refused visits from his family.
He flew to Muscat and will soon be reunited with his family in the UK.
“We thank our Omani and Saudi partners for their support in securing his release.
“I pay tribute to our outstanding staff for their hard work bringing Luke home.”
The release of Mr Symons comes after a two-month ceasefire was introduced in Yemen on April 2.
It is the first nationwide ceasefire in six years in the deadly Middle East civil war that broke out in 2014.
That year, the Iranian-backed Houthis seized Sanaa and forced the internationally recognized government into exile.
A coalition led by Saudi Arabia entered the war in early 2015 to try to bring the government back to power.
Amnesty said Mr Symons was detained in the spring of 2017 at a checkpoint in the southwestern city of Taiz.
His relatives told the human rights group they believed he had been arrested because he had a British passport and was suspected of espionage by the Houthis, although he was never formally charged with a crime.
The family told Amnesty that Mr Symons, whose wife is said to be Yemeni, had been beaten by his captors in an attempt to coerce a confession of espionage from him and that his physical and mental health had suffered as a result of being in solitary confinement. posted.