Authorities free elderly man, detain son [Archives:2007/1106/Local News]

November 26 2007

Almigdad Dahesh Mojalli
SANA'A, Nov. 24 ) Security forces negotiated the release on Friday of Mohammed Al-Mutawakil, 95, from his kidnappers, but his son Abdul-Jabbar, 45, remains in prison.

Al-Mutawakil was kidnapped in Khawlan, 25 km from Sana'a, for six months when he refused to sell a land connected to the Ministry of Endowment in Jibla. Abdul-Jabbar Al-Mutawakel, son of the the kidnapped cleric, recounted the story: “Our relatives in Khawlan tried many times to make my father sell the endowment land to them. When my father refused, they kidnapped me for one week a year ago to force my father to sell the land. Then, after they released me, I lodged a complaint to the court.”

When the kidnappers discovered that Abdul-Jabbar had lodged a complaint against them, they decided to kidnap his father to force both Abdul-Jabbar to drop the complaint and his father to sell the land.

On July 14th, 2007, Mohammed Al-Mutawakil went to the mosque to pray, not knowing that he would spend the next six months in a pitch-black room apart from his family. “My father went to the mosque to pray. We waited for him that day until 2 pm, then we looked for him in all the hospitals in Ibb. When it got dark, we knew that he had been kidnapped and informed the police. I learned from my father that a landcruiser intercepted him after he exited the mosque. Four people took him into the car and drove off quickly. While escaping, they ran into a car and gave its driver ten thousand riyals because they didn't want to waste time or be caught.” Abdul-Jabbar said.

According to Abdul-Jabbar, who gave Yemen Times exclusive phone interview from his prison, father was put in a very small, dark room in Maswar village, in Khawlan district. Mohammed Al-Mutawakil wasn't allowed to leave the dirty room for six months. Furthermore, he was prevented from praying Friday and Eid prayers in the mosque, although such is obligatory in Islam. “The kidnappers dealt with my father very harshly, though we are relatives. They used to give him rotten food, and never allowed him to meet anybody at all for six months.” Abdul-Jabbar explained.

After six months, the Ministry of Interior was able to force the kidnappers to release Al-Mutawakil but instead of arresting them, the ministry sent Abdul-Jabbar to prison to comply with conditions set by the kidnappers. “The Ministry of Interior called me and told me to come and pick up my father. But when I arrived, they sent me to prison. This was the kidnappers' condition for releasing my father. The kidnappers complained that I defamed them by lodging a complaint in court after they had kidnapped my father and asked the ministry to send me to prison to exonerate them. Ministry officials agreed with some Parliament members to send me to prison for a few days but I have been here since Nov. 11th, 2007.” Abdul-Jabbar complained.