Al-Qaeda prisoners families appeal to the president [Archives:2005/882/Front Page]

October 3 2005

Hassan Al-Zaidi
SANAA, 28 Sep.- Families of prisoners confined in Political Security prisons at the backdrop of their affiliation to al-Qaeda Organisation, or those described as sympathizers with al-Qaeda supporters, have appealed to the president of the republic to include their sons in the recently issued presidential amnesty. The presidential pardon decree was issued on the anniversary of the 26 September revolution stipulating the release of all those arrested in the events of Saada from the followers and supporters of Hussein al-Houthi who was killed last year by Yemeni forces.

Press sources mentioned that families of prisoners in the political security prison in Hudeida governorate had lately gathered in front of the prison, believing that their sons were among those meant in the amnesty decree. To their disappointment, director of the political security at the governorate Ahmed al-Taib told those families that al-Qaeda prisoners were not included in the pardon decision and that those elements from the ones returning from Afghanistan, who had been previously set free. Had returned to fighting in Iraq with Al-Zarqawi, causing embarrassment to Yemen.

Those families mentioned that they had presented comprehensive guarantees for their sons and that they were meeting all conditions for their release following recommendations of the dialogue committee with them headed by Qadi Hamoud al-Hittar to release them.

There is not until now an accurate statistic on the number of prisoners accused of terror cases, especially after the government had sent to court some of them accused of high terror cases and had been sentenced to various verdicts. Sources mention that numbers of prisoners have increased this year and more than 15 persons accused of being affiliated to al-Jihad Group are imprisoned at the political security prison in the governorate of Abyan. Those prisoners have staged hunger strike to continue until they are set free, while there are other prisoners at prisons in Hudeida, Taiz Ibb and Sana'a. The sources added that among those are elements that tried to go to Iraq across Syria and some other countries. The cell, headed by Abu A'ssim (Mohammed Hamdi al-Ahdal), detained by government forces in October 2003, is still behind bars at the political security in Sana'a and its members are until now not sent to court.

On the other hand, the parliament has suspended its sessions to after the Eid al-Fitr by the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. It is mentioned that a number of parliamentarians have demanded obliging the minister of interior to present the parliament with a list of all those imprisoned at the political security prisons, the charges against them, the date of their imprisonment, and the number of those referred to prosecution. The MPs demand set a condition that the information should be available in a period not exceeding one month since the date of questioning the interior minister that took place two weeks before.

The Yemeni authorities, and in person of the prime minister, had confirmed they had managed to put an end to al-Qaeda organization and dismantled all of its dangerous cells as well as arrested its most dangerous and outstanding elements. They also claimed they had been able to convince some of them to abandon their extremist ideas via holding dialogue with them. Security elements have defined certain conditions for those who have been released, including their reporting to security stations and registering their names with them every three months.

Observers, interested in Islamic movements affairs, believe the verdicts issued against elements accused with terrorist acts such as the blast of destroyer Cole, Limburg oil tanker and targeting some foreign embassies, may not cause reactions for them in Yemen as those sentences came as not strong, a matter that would preclude the happening of reactions by elements sympathizing with al-Qaeda.

On the other hand, a number of Al-Tahrir Party activists are retained at prisons of the political security in Taiz and Ibb. A statement issued by the party in the mid of last month affirmed that students Ramzi Ahmed Haider, Mushir Abdeh Mohammed, Abdulkafi Mohammed Hassan and Adel Dirham al-Hakeemi were still at prison of the political security in Taiz. The statement confirmed that also a person Saqr Abdulqader al-Shuaiter had been kidnapped on a street in the city of Ibb. Terms of arrest served by elements from Al-Tahrir party vary in length. Student Ramzi was arrested on 12 last July, Mushir on 22 of the same month and Abdeh al-Kafi on 4 September. The party's statement stressed those persons had committed no guilt other than they are members of Tahrir party and their convictions expressed by the Tahrir party are not allowed to embrace.

It is worth mentioning that the Tahrir party had called for holding a conference in Sana'a in October 2002 but Yemeni authorities had then stormed the conference venue and prevented it from continuing its meetings that were attended by Qadi Hamoud al-Hattar, chairman of the committee on ideological dialogue ordered by president of the republic.