How Human Rights Are Violated in Yemen [Archives:2001/33/Reportage]

August 13 2001

The latest governmental resolution establishing a separate Ministry for Human Rights 
Protection in Yemen has given false hopes to the people once again misled by propaganda. 
Had human rights been protected in Yemen the tragedy of Al-Ahdal would not have been a real performance played in Sana’a, the capital of the Republic of Yemen, where all the government authorities are concentrated. 
Mohammed Abdullah Al-Ahdal, a Yemeni citizen, went back home after the Gulf War to live with his family under the protection of his government. Unfortunately, his life went from a happy dream to a nightmare that lasted ten years. 
Dear Mister Minister of Human Rights, Doctor Wahiba Faree, 
The tragedy of Yemeni citizen Al-Ahdal is informing us of human rights violations in Yemen which are a crime against humanity. Because of the absence of justice and security in the country, a gang of officers, belonging to the Air Defense Military Forces, were suspected to have murdered a poor man without reason. The victims were a helpless Yemeni citizen and his family which have never been a threat to the government. Al-Ahdal’s family did not deserve any of the harassments perpetrated against them by the Commander of the Air Defense Military Forces Mohammed Al-Dhabri and some of his assistants. For ten years, Al-Ahdal and his family suffered from numerous kidnapping and imprisonment. 
Nothing could stop the gang of officers to persist in their awful crimes against harmless 
citizens. They broke into Al-Ahdal’s house at least 14 times to take him out of his bed by force and beat whom ever they could find at home. When the Yemeni civil war erupted in 1994, Commander Mohammed Al-Dhabri and his section destroyed Al-Ahdal’s house and made his family become refugees and live under tents for 6 years. The ignonimious group was never satisfied with its criminal actions and went on in horror. They tied the elderly father to a jeep belonging to the Yemeni army and dragged him all around the Daress area a few kilometers north of Sana’a. The poor victim died two weeks later due to fatal wounds. The crime scene is neither in Africa nor America, but in Sana’a where the Human Rights Ministry is located. The suspects are not on the run or hiding, but they are rather living an ordinary life and driving proudly their jeeps in the streets. 
It is a paradox as the supposed guardians of Yemeni citizens are their burglars and murderers. When law is not enforced, the courts’ verdicts are not final and can be reverted. The weak cannot find anyone, not even the government, to protect him. Only his muscles and guns are his defense. 
Helpless Al-Ahdal sobs, “I returned home from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia after the Gulf War. I opened commercial stores in Bab al-Yemen and built my own house at Daress in the Al-Rawdhah region (close to Sana’a International Airport) dreaming to have a honorably life as a Yemeni national. Day after day, my dream turned to a permanent nightmare when the evil gang of officers from the Air Defense Military Forces headed by commander Mohammed Al-Dhabri began blackmailing me. At the beginning, they broke into my house to rope some furniture, then they asked me to give them money. When I refused, they warned to kill me and continued breaking into my house. Even worse, they burned down my stores and demolished my house at Daress a few kilometers to Sana’a where the Ministry of Justice, the security forces, the courts, the human rights organizations, and more than three quarters of the government bureaus are located. In the darkness of injustice, I have been attacked, imprisoned, kidnapped, and mutilated. These evil visitors also never stopped harassing my wife who lost four children before term and is now suffering from a permanent illness. They even slaughtered my father and forced us to live under shelters for 6 years as refugees after our house, ready to be occupied, was destroyed.” 
This is the tragedy lived by Al-Ahdal who has been hovering around carrying files stuffed with courts verdicts and instructions issued by different authorities such as the presidential office and the ministries of justice and interior. The file contains numerous verdicts issued by specialized courts and accounts from eyewitnesses confirming that Al-Ahdal has continually been attacked in public. Despite endless appeals made to the General Commander of the Air Defense Military Forces brigadier general Mohammed Saleh Al-Ahmer, the criminals always refused to go to court and ignored various mandatory court injunctions. Here are the names of the infamous: the officer Al-Dhabri and his assistants Ahmed Abdullah Othman, Mujahed Al-Azi, Jammel Al-Barawi, Hadi Al-Shahrani, Houseen Ali Zakria, Naji Ali Al-Ma’abari, Mohammed Abdullah Al-Futeeni and other privates from the air defense camp. Every verdict issued against the gang officers, even those made by the presidential office and the ministries of interior and justice, did not come to their arrest. 
More documents proving their guilt are available and ready to be presented to the Human Rights minister, Dr. Wahiba Faree. She is the only hope to stop aggressions made by the gang officers who sworn to keep going until they throw out Al-Ahdal from Daress as if they were owning the area. 
This is an illustration of shattered human rights in Yemen that should be made known to all the Arab and international organizations which call for the respect of human rights. Such crimes against humanity are refused by all religions and those who have a sense of humanity. 
The final verdict issued against officers’ gang stipulated that it must compensate Al-Ahdal with an appropriate amount to replace his demolished residence, return his stolen furniture, pay him blood money for the murder of his foetuses, and compensate him for an unfair jailing. 
But who has the power to apply the verdict? Why the weak in our country is always the victim? A lot of questions remain unanswered in Yemen, a country of paradoxes.