After extradited by Egyptian authoritiesPolitician Obaid released [Archives:2004/738/Front Page]

May 17 2004

Mohammed Al-Qadhi
The well-known Yemeni politician Ahmed Salem Obaid was released Saturday after his disappearance from his exile in Cairo for around three months, an official source said.
Obaid, a former minister of information and education in the former South of Yemen, disappeared in Cairo where he was living with his family and a number of the Yemeni Socialist Party leaders since the civil war of 1994. His family appealed to the Yemeni and Egyptian authorities to find out his whereabouts.
Obaid was found to have been arrested in Yemen for some time after his extradition by the Egyptian authorities who arrested him. Yemeni authority sources said he was released and turned over as he was arrested by the Egyptian police for some charges which the source did not mention. However, reliable sources in Sana'a told the Yemen Times that Obaid was part of a deal between Yemen and Egypt police as he was turned over to Yemen in return of the Egyptian big Islamist fundamentalist Said Imam Shareef who was arrested in Abyan and turned over to Cairo last February.
The source said that Obaid was allowed to see some of his family members in Sana'a and call the rest in Cairo. However, he was found with some security men who did not allow him to talk to others. The Yemeni socialist Party welcomed the release and said that their concerns that he was arrested in Yemen turned to be true.
The release of Obaid came after a campaign led by some human rights organizations which demanded that his whereabouts be displayed.
Obaid sought exile in Egypt along with some of the socialist leaders after the defeat of their party in the 1994 civil war. Before the war, he was the military and security advisor to the president of the republic.
Some political observers described the arrest of Obaid, who lived in Cairo as a political figure in exile, by the Egyptian authorities and then his extradition to his country as an unjustified step that does not respect human rights treaties.
Last week a number of Yemeni people in exile since the 1994 civil war appealed to the UNHCR office in Cairo to re-settle them in non-Arab countries as they no longer feel safe after the disappearance of Obaid.
Around 120 persons in exile wrote to the UNHCR that they want to go to any European country as they felt afraid after their colleague Obaid disappeared suddenly with no hints about his whereabouts. They pointed out that Arab countries can not even protect the rights of their citizens and are not in a position to protect politicians and their families in exile.