Hajja jail inmates complain of torture [Archives:2006/995/Local News]

October 2 2006

By: Adel Al-Khawlani
HAJJAH, Oct. 30 ) Many prisoners, detained in a Hajja jail on criminal charges, said they were tortured by policemen in charge of the jail and affiliated with the Criminal Investigation Bureau.

Deputy Manager of Hajjah Criminal Investigation Bureau, Rashad Mohamed Saif, said he has no comment on the allegations of torture.

“We never practice torture against inmates,” said Saif, while denying the allegations.

However, Al-Sahwa Net managed to take shots of an inmate showing traces of the torture on different parts of his body. The inmate said he was tortured by policemen in the jail while they investigated him.

Shots of detainee Ahmad Mohamed Dagma reveal he was severely beaten. Dagma, jailed on suspicion of murdering the Director-General of Khairan Al-Maharaq in Hajjah governorate, said he was whipped, beaten with electrical wires and also punched, slapped and subjected to badmouthing during the investigation process.

Dagma said detectives tied and beat him to force a confession for his involvement in the murder of Al-Maharaq.

“I was taken to the Criminal Investigation Bureau to be investigated, but I hadn't known that I would face human beasts, who practice all kinds of torture against prisoners. The detectives dragged and knocked us with their legs until I found myself compelled to sign on the detection minutes, which contain fabricated information,” said Dagma. According to Nasser Al-A'awar, a legal expert, such practices against prisoners, if proved authentic, are a legal crime. The law bans illegally treating, beating or torturing the suspect to force him/her to confess any charge attributed to him/her.

“Those who commit such crimes, which violate the constitution and legislation, face punishment under the Penalties Law. These acts contradict morals of the Yemeni society, particularly as they are practiced in security offices,” said Al-A'awar.

Letters and complaints coming from prisons and penitentiaries nationwide have increased over the past two years. Prisoners say there are flagrant human and legal violations committed against them where they are subjected to malpractices and mistreatment by influential people and suffer a lack of basic services in prisons. Many inmates have been quoted as saying that prisons are heavily crowded with prisoners, exceeding their capacities.

The Parliamentary Committee of Rights and Public Freedoms revealed, in a report which it forwarded to the Parliament more than on year ago, following a field visit by the committee to prisons in different governorates, there are hostages who spent several years in prisons. These people have been put in prison as hostages on crimes committed by relatives. The security authorities detain citizens, among them children, who have been jailed for over 3 years without committing any crimes punishable under the law, according to the report.

Torturing prisoners, coupled with poor jail conditions and prolonged court procedures constitute some of the primary reasons why international human rights organizations usually assess the situation of human rights in Yemen as poor.