Al-Suswa: No idea of trial postponement [Archives:2004/736/Front Page]

May 10 2004

Minister of Human Rights, Amat al-Alim al-Suswa said that she had no idea about a decision to postpone the trial of some suspected terrorists which was supposed to start last week.
However, she said in a meeting with journalists last Wednesday to observe the International Press Freedom Day that the USS Cole bombing suspects are excluded from the tribunal because some of the suspected perpetrators are still on the run.
It was reported last week that the trial of the Limburg bombing and other terrorist operations suspects was postponed, as the security men are still hunting down for some of those suspects who are being protected by some influential clerics.
Al-Suswa called on the Yemeni Journalists Syndicate (YJS) to play a more pivotal role to end the penalties that criminalize journalists on issues of publication and to enhance the watchdog role of journalists in the society.
Concerning the human rights record in Yemen, she said that her ministry is doing its best to improve it, dismissing the argument that the ministry was meant for decoration only. She said that it is for the first time that her ministry is now preparing an annual report on the situation of human rights in Yemen in collaboration with relative ministries and NGOs. Al-Suswa pointed out that her ministry is dealing seriously with human rights abuses just like the response to the human rights abuses perpetrated by some security men; she said they were prosecuted and indicted. Another important thing is that a new department at the ministry has been set up to receive complaints of citizens, whose rights have been abused, following up these complaints with the relative authorities.
The minister revealed some of the shocking facts about the trafficking of children to Saudi Arabia by some brokers. She confirmed the news that the police some time ago thwarted the trafficking of around 40 children at the border, pointing out that the “most important reason for this social problem is poverty.” What is striking is the fact that parents push their kids with brokers to go to Saudi Arabia for begging. She said that investigations have found that some of the children were sexually abused by their brokers.
Al-Suswa said that she is working with the ministries of Justice and Legal affairs to harden the punishment against the perpetrators of such a crime which is not clearly defined in the Yemeni law at the moment.
On their part, the YJS demanded the abolishing of the imprisonment sentence against journalists as it does not fall in line with any democratic society or free media. The YJS expressed worry over the intention of the minister of justice to conduct amendments to the Press and Publication Law, demanding in a press statement that it should not be excluded from this potential amendment. The YJS called the government to end its monopoly over the ownership of electronic media. It expressed worry over the abuses and attacks the journalists have been going through in Yemen and the Arab world.