A Question to be Asked in Mohammed Adam’s Case: WILL THE CASE TURN VIOLENT? [Archives:2000/28/Reportage]

July 10 2000

Jalal Al-Sharaabi
Yemen Times

The court heard the arguments by advocates of the victims’ families in the 7th session. Advocate Al-Baghdady, Zainab’s family attorney objected to the way the German experts were chosen. He pointed out that they were not duly appointed by the court. He requested the court to declare as null and void the orders given by the representative of the general prosecution, Mr. Ali Al-lawdhi, preventing members of the Yemeni investigation team to join the team of the German Experts. ” It is painful to see that Zainab’s family is still treated in the same rough and irresponsible way. So far, and despite the directives of the court, the body of their daughter has not been handed over to them to be buried in Baghdad. As if this was not bad enough, the registration department at the college of medicine refused to give them the victim’s academic file. In addition, he pleaded, the victim’s belongings must not be handed over to her family in a way that hurt their feelings. This was against all humanitarian and Islamic values,” said Al-Baghdady.
He also took serious exceptions to the remarks by Dr. Al-Khateeb, the defendant’s attorney, questioning his bona fides and underestimating his credentials as an advocate. He said that Al-Khateeb tried in connivance with a number of newspapers and magazines to twist the facts as to divert the focus on the defendant’s accomplices.
Despite the disclosure of names of a number of Adam’s accomplices, some of whom were said to be professors in the same college, no one has yet been interrogated. In this context, Al-Baghdady expressed his misgivings about whether the prosecution rated the crimes in the college of medicine to be some acts of nuisance committed at home for fun.
Al-Baghdady further pointed out a number of discrepancies between reports of the German experts and those of the criminal investigation agencies with regard to the color, length of the victim’s hair, number of missing teeth and body organs. He demanded execution of previous court directives about handing over the victim’s body to her family, those to the College of medicine to hand over the victim’s academic file to her uncle, and handing over the victim’s belongings to her uncle in a place other than the court. He cautioned Al-Khateeb to desist from dubious means to defend his client.
The magistrate Yahia Al-Aslami ruled that the translation of the report made by the German experts was not carefully done, describing it as distortion of the actual findings of experts. He ordered that the report be retranslated in an official center.
At the end of the session it was decided to assign General Mohammed Saleh Al-Hamadani to:
1- have the body organs of the victims examined by the forensic experts in Germany to identify their sex, date and reason of death,
2- provide the court with three copies of German, English and Arabic versions of the final report and
4- hand over Zainab’s belongings to her family.
Advocate Al-Dailami, Hossn family’s attorney, raised grave doubts about the body organs belonging to any of the two victims.
Dr. Al-khateeb demanded that his client be transferred to another place and be allowed to meet his wife.
Adam confessed to having raped Hossn and killed her after that as he was afraid of his crime coming to light. As far as Zainab is concerned, he killed her because her mother insulted him. A number of people from Hamdan tribe, to which Hossn belongs, attended the session along with their Sheikh Yahia Ali who expressed their dismay at the failure of the court to make the defendant’s accomplices appear in the courts.
In an interview with the Yemen Times, in his house 15 kilometers outside Sana’a, Sheikh Yahia Ali Aaydh of Hamdan tribe said that they were following up the process of the prosecution from the very beginning. “It seemed to be on the right track in its 7th session.,” he said. “The court demanded interrogation with parties involved and that is what we are after,” he added.
Sheikh Aaydh demanded that the case should proceed without any fear of pressure from above. He threatened that if the case was diverted he would be constrained to enforce his tribal measures to achieve their demands.
Q: Could you spell out in some detail about these measures?
A: We will hold a meting for Yemeni tribal leaders who all have showed solidarity with us. They have sent us letters condemning the crime and confirming their support for our stand. Some of these tribes are Gahm, Abidah, Murad, Hashed and others.
Q: Does this mean that there will be a tribal course of action if the court fails to reach a result that satisfies the victim’s family?
A: Yes, of course. But it is not the proper time to say what kind of action that will be. We are awaiting the conclusion the court will reach. As far as our actions are concerned, they will be revealed at the proper time.
Q: Do you think that the failure to bring Adam’s accomplices to justice is due to some external pressures?
A: Yes. Some high ranking officials are doing their best in order not to let the University staff be dragged to court.
Q: As a leader of the tribe, were you informed by the victim’s family about her disappearance?
A: Yes. Everybody here knew that she had gone missing. But we were misled by the security officer of the college of medicine who stressed that she left the college. This, in fact, made us doubtful about the victim’s intentions, thinking that she might have gone astray. But her father never subscribed to the view. He was sure that his daughter did not leave the College and he was right.
Q: What does the tribe demand for?
A: We want to get access to all investigation and interrogation reports on the crime. We also demand interrogation of all accomplices mentioned by the accused or in the investigation reports.
I took the opportunity of being present in the Hamdan tribe and proceeded to the victim’s house to meet with her family. I first met her mother, 70 year old Fatimah Yahia Al-Faqeeh who was weeping during the whole interview. “I appeal to President Ali Abdullah Saleh to impose penalty on the criminals including the officials of the college of medicine involved in killing my daughter,” she said.
“I wanted to pride myself on being the mother of the only female university student and doctor in the whole tribe. Why should her end be in a sacred place?” she added with tears welling up her eyes.
Fatimah, Hossn’s mother knew about the disappearance of her daughter 5 months later. She lost her sight upon hearing the news and stayed in that condition for a month in hospital. As far as her father is concerned, he left no stones unturned to trace her, harboring no doubt that she did not leave the college. He died heartbroken 10 months after the disappearance of his most beloved daughter.
Faizah Ahmad Hussain, Hossn’s eldest sister said: “It was Thursday when she disappeared. My father was very worried about her. At 5:30 p.m. he went to the college but he was told that the last batch of girls left the college at 4 in the afternoon. Next day was Friday and Saturday was a holiday. He went there again on Saturday but could not find her at the college. He requested the security staff to allow him to search the morgue but they refused saying that only specialists were allowed to go there.
We went to conjurers who told us that she was fine and that she would be back soon, but they were liars.”
“I wonder why the criminal’s accomplices have not yet been brought to justice. Who are the officials who stand by them?” she exclaimed. She affirmed that she would avenge her sister’s murder whatever strength and power the accomplices had.
People in the neighborhood narrated how the victim’s parents sold their lands to cover expenses of the seemingly-impossible quest for their daughter.
The 20 year old youngest brother of the victim, Mahmoud Ahmad Hussain, said: “We were misled by the security officer of the college, Ahmad Salamah, who told us that my sister left the college with one of her classmates. He gave us his name and his photo as well. We kept following him for five months before we discovered that we were misled.
Q: Did the tribe object to the victim’s study at the university, being the only tribes girl?
A: Many objected to it. But her intelligence and high scores in the secondary school encouraged us to let her join the college of medicine to become a doctor. The tribe was in a bad need of a doctor. However, she did not even complete the second year before she became the victim of a sinister nexus of criminals.
I would like to say that there were some security officials who were helpful, like captain Hamid Haider and Abdu Sudah. So thanks to them.
Mohammed Ahmad Attiah, the victim’s eldest brother deplored the state’s weak and fragile stand in the case. He expressed his anger and dismay against Dr. Al-Iryani’s attempts to divert the focus on the dean of the college. “The tribe is able to avenge the wrong if the court fails to reveal the truth,” he said.
During the 7th session of the court, Sheikh Aaydh stood up and held the judges responsible for their failure to bring accomplices to justice. The Justice responded: “We are doing our best unleashing on our personal efforts.” “This proves that there are some pressures on the court,” said Mohammed.
About the family’s demands, he said that they were demanding producing all accomplices including staff of the college administration before the trial court.
It is worth mentioning that the parliament has decided to suspend the dean of the college and its security men. But so far this has not been accomplished. “The parliament has suspended the dean but the Prime Minister is shielding him. This is nonsense,” he said. ” We wanted to meet with the President, but unfortunately we couldn’t reach him. Therefore, we appeal to him through this newspaper to intervene to solve the problem,” concluded Mohammed, the victim’s eldest brother.
What next?
Still a certain kind of ambiguity and mystery is surrounding the case of Adam. I believe that Adam still has more up his sleeves to surprise us.
Was the whole case part of failure of the intelligence network? Was it part of a prostitution ring or was it part of a well-organized racket trading with human organs? Let’s wait and see what the forthcoming days have in store.
Hossn’s family letter of appeal to president after failure to meet with him
HE. President Ali Abdullah Saleh
“We have suffered a lot in our search for our daughter since her disappearance on April, 4 1999 to be shocked eventually by the inhuman crime in the college of medicine that has shocked the whole society, and which victimized a number of innocent students aspiring to be doctors in the future. No words can describe what we feel. The father of our daughter, one of the unfortunate victims died heartbroken after 10 months of restless efforts to trace her.
Now after the crime has come to light we have some demands that we hope your majesty will consider as legitimate as an act of noble duty to God. We pin our hopes on you, knowing that you are able to avenge the victim.
Our demands are as follows:
1- Suspension and interrogation of the staff of the College of Medicine who have a direct or indirect role in the tragic act.
2- Imposition of due penalties on all accomplices who are directly or indirectly involved in the crime.
3- Punishment to the security guards of the college for their carelessness which provided the criminal with the suitable atmosphere to perpetrate the crime.
4- Interrogation of the police officers who misled us and tried to stop us from looking for our missing daughter and who hesitate to accuse her of immoral elopement.
5- Handing over the accused to us to chop his body exactly as he did with the victims.
6- Change of the morgue to a monument in memory of the victims.
7- Issue certificate of graduation for Hossn who lost her life in pursuit of the degree and enroll her name in the martyrs’ lists.”