Children used as political footballs [Archives:2003/688/Local News]

November 24 2003

Mohammed bin Sallam
A 12-year-old Yemeni boy is being held by political security authorities after taking part in a ceremony in the Grand Mosque in Old Sana'a, condemning America and Israel.
The detention appears to be an effort by officials to crack down on anti-American and anti-Jewish sentiment.
The youth, Ma'ath Hamoud al-Mutawakil has been in detention since the 12th of Ramadhan and his family is prevented from visiting him.
There appears no hope that security authorities will release him by al-Fitr Eid at the end of Ramadhan.
Meanwhile, the political security authorities have intensified their activities against those condemning America and Israel. Security members began a campaign of removing posters condemning America and Israel from walls of old Sana'a.
In a related story, youth Sami Ali Ghalib, 9, is still under detention in the area of Bani Dhubyan-Khawlan for more than three weeks, after being kidnapped in front of his house in the city of Dhamar under knowledge of authorities and the tribe to whom the child belongs.
Both the tribe and authorities did not exert any effort to release him despite appeals of his father through media.
A relative of the child remarked that if the child was from the tribe of Sanhan or any tribe having influential people in the state, they would have moved quickly to secure his release and punish the kidnappers, as they did at the beginning of this year with al-Zaidi tribe that kidnapped a number of young people from Sanhan and then released them under threat of force.