After 3-day Detention Abdusalam Nuraldine Released [Archives:2001/46/Law & Diplomacy]

November 12 2001

Abdusalam Nuraldine, a Sudanese national visiting Yemen to conduct field research on the Red Sea for a research center affiliated to Exeter University in the UK, was detained last week by security authorities. While Mr. Abdusalam Nuraldine was staying at Ramada Hadda Hotel in Sana’a, agents of the Political Security Police kidnapped him (as he described his arrest), along with his Yemeni colleague Dr. Ahmed Abdulhakim al-Massa’abi, who had just finished his PhD at Exeter University in the UK. When asked about his academic relationship with Yemen, Abdusalam Nuraldine said he has been to Yemen three times. The first time was from 1974 to 1980, and then from 1984 to 1986, as well as many other visits in the 90s. Abusalam Nuraldine had earlier obtained approval from the Yemeni authorities to conduct his research, including the approval of the Foreign Minister, Abu Bakr al-Qirbi, the President’s advisor, Abdulkarim al-Iryani and many top officials. Similarly, those officials have shown great interest in supporting Nuraldine in his research.
During his interrogation by the Political Security Police, Mr. Abdulsalm Nuraldine was accused of spying for Western countries, having contact with Osama bin Laden and supporting the secessionists. “These accusations are all baseless and have nothing to do with my academic visit to Yemen, which was arranged through all the official channels, including Foreign Minster, Abubakr al-Qirbi, Abdulkarim al-Iryani President advisor, Hussein al-Amri, Ambassador of Yemen in London, as well as Nassir al-Ulaqi Director of Sana’a University, and Mr. Saleh Basura, Director of Aden University. Moreover, we sent the program of our academic visit to the Yemeni authorities before coming to Yemen, so they have full knowledge of our research program. Regarding the reasons leading to his detention as well as his relation to the Islamists, although he is known to be an adherent of the Communist Party, Mr. Abdulsalm Nuraldine explained that he was a committed leftist until he finished his PhD, and since then he has developed many ideas that do not fit within the scope and frame of Marxism, as he started to think deeply about the inner structure of Arab and African societies, things like “asabya” fanaticism, which all have nothing to do with Marxism.
Regarding his 3-day detention, Mr. Nuraldine said he was kept in a very dirty small cell and was threatened to be tortured until death if refused to confess that he is a Western spy. Explaining the purpose of his research visit to Yemen, Nuraldine said that he has been conducting a field study along the coastal area extending from Mudya, Hodeidah, Mocha and Thubab on the Red Sea as part of his research for Exeter University in the UK, adding that he and his Yemeni colleague has arranged for their visit long before the September 11 attacks, and that the timing of his visit has nothing to do with the current global situation.
Ultimately, the release of Mr. Abdusalam Nuraldine and his Yemeni colleague Dr. Ahmed Abdulhakim al-Massa’abi came after the intervention of Mr. Hussein al-Amri and Dr. Abdulkarim al-Iryani. However, all the documents, videotapes and photos produced by Abdusalam Nuraldine and his Yemeni colleague were confiscated by security authorities, with means that all their efforts in collecting this data were wasted.
Mr. Abdusalam Nuraldine said that he has contacted the Minister of Interior, Dr. Rahsad al-Alymi, regarding the seizure of these research materials and that he is waiting for a response.