Amnesty’s Letters to the Prime Minister [Archives:2001/19/Local News]

May 7 2001

Members of the German Amnesty International group in Berlin-Kreuzberg have sent a letter to the Prime Minister, Minister of Human Rights and Minister of Justice concerning the capital punishment awarded to Hammoud Murshid Hassan Ahmad, presently lodged in the Central Prison in Taiz.
“The 23 members of the Amnesty International group in Berlin-Kreuzberg were glad to read, that Mrs. Far´e stated in an interview with “Yemen Times”, that she will work closely with NGOs to push the implementation of Human Rights,” the letter reads. The group expressed concern that the trial and the review are falling short of international standards. “The principle of the right to a fair trial as laid down in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and spelled out in the International Convention for Political and Civil Rights seem not to have been applied to the case of Mr. Hammoud Murshid Hassan Ahmad,” it said. It added that the denial of the right of being tried by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law as well as the right to examine the witnesses against him and to obtain the attendance and examination of witnesses against him seem to be among the infringed international standards.
The letter concluded by urging the new government to “make all efforts to implement all major international human rights treaties that Yemen has signed and ratified.
On the other hand, Brigitta Kliem of Amnesty International sent a similar letter to the Prime Minister concerning the death penalty awarded to Saleh Nasser Ahmad Al-Assadi (50) who is awaiting imminent execution, after his death sentence was approved by the President. Al-Assadi was convicted of murder. Details of his trial are not known, but his lawyer claims that there were serious irregularities at the appeal proceedings, and that not all the evidence in support of his appeal was passed on to the Supreme Court.
The letter also expresses concern about the provision of the death penalty in Yemen, particularly as death sentences are often passed after proceedings fall short of international standards for a fair trial. It urged upon the Minister to commute the penalty to a more human punishment. “May I remind the authorities that under international standards for a fair trial in capital cases, defendants have the right to legal assistance at all stages of the proceedings, the right to appeal and the right to seek pardon or commutation of the sentence,” it concludes.