“Good behavior” precondition release of Hajja detainees [Archives:2007/1080/Front Page]

August 27 2007

Nisreen Shadad
HAJJA, August 26 ) The provision of a guarantee of “good behavior” endorsed by senior figures in the community, is the only way detainees accused of Houthism can be released from central prison in Hajja. The governor of Hajja, Muhammad Abdullah al-Harazi, told Yemen Times that the warrant is very important as it guarantees for the government that those people won't participate in the war taking place in Sa'ada.

Al-Harazi says, “The guarantee is only possible for the detainees who have not committed murder. However a large number of the detainees have committed murder, therefore we can't release them even if they brought a guarantee.” The recent situation in Hajja is not stable, “Before almost 10 days, eight citizens in Hajja were killed and 18 injured,” he said.

Seven of the detainees have provided such a guarantee. The Yemen Times has a copy (see box)

Ghailb al-Ahnumi, a father of one of the detainees (Abdul Rahim, a boy of 15), said he personally took the guarantee to the security officials, but they declined to accept it.

General Ali Al-Tambala, head of the central prison, says the seven detainees could be released this Thursday if their certificate of guarantees proves authentic.

He also mentioned that they have “certain instructions” to release them before holy month of Ramadan, which starts on September 13. Courts in Yemen officially close for three months every year because of Ramdan. They had been closed in the beginning of August and hence, the detainees' cases are not seen by any judiciary official and will not be provided with legal assistance until end of October earliest.

Khalid al-Anisi, the executive director of National Organization for Defense of Freedoms says the detainees had been at the prison up to five months illegally, “If they were involved in any crime, they must be refered to the general prosecution.”

Al-Harazi says it is not for many of the detainees' interests to refer them to the prosecution as they committed murder. However, when everything has calmed down and the issue of al Houthi has ended, we will refer them to the persecution.

Many religious schools in Hajja have been closed including the school where al-Ahnumi used to teach. Hajja governor, Al-Harazi said these schools were unlicensed. “People are studying extremism as well as denominational fanaticism in these places and therefore, we don't need them,” al-Harazi, said. “These schools are a threat to Yemenis doctrine, through spreading al-Ithna asharys (al-Ja'afarya) fundamentals,” he added.

Al-Murtadha Zaid al-Muhatwari, a professor in Sana'a University and head of Badr center for teaching Zaidism, commented on this issuw: “The reason behind closing the Zaidi schools is the war of Sa'ada. However, in reality it is fighting those who carry believe in apposing the oppressors.”

The only school that adopts rebellious thoughts, (particularly being opposing the government), is Zaidism, “Seven teachers of Badr center were arrested seven months ago,” al-Muhatwari says.

Addul Rahman, a teacher in Badr center said we don't know the reason of arresting our colleagues I feel I may be arrested in any time.” Abdul Qadir, another teacher said, “Because we don't know the reason, each one of us is waiting to be arrested.” “My colleague al-Izzi Rajih was arrested when going out from the center, therefore I am afraid to go out.”

Houthism according to al-Murtadha, has a vague message. Al-Houthi is Zaidi and the president is Zaidi as well, therefore, belonging to a particular sector can't be evidence against the person. However, the governor of Hajja says that Al-Houthi is Ithna ashari; the extremist sect of Shia.