In a letter issued by Human Rights Watch to President Saleh:Full investigation into J. Omar’s assassination demanded [Archives:2003/660/Front Page]

August 18 2003

The Human Rights Watch, an international NGO based in Washington, urged in a letter addressed to President Ali Abdullah Saleh August 13 that government of Yemen should undertake “a full, independent, and impartial investigation” into the assassination of Yemeni socialist leader Jarallah Omar on December 28, 2002. “There are serious and widespread allegations about possible involvement in this killing by government security officials and prominent Salafi political figures. These allegations need to be addressed in a transparent and serious manner, and dismissed or acted upon. We therefore call on you to authorize a special investigation, to be conducted in a thorough and impartial manner, into all aspects of this crime, and to make the results public,” the letter said
“A special investigation is essential because the case is a highly charged one, owing to the prominence of the victim. Jarallah Omar was deputy secretary-general of the YSP and its leading strategist. At the time of his death he was working to forge an alliance of the YSP with the Islah (Reform) Party. His assassination occurred at a public Islah party congress”, the letter says, adding, “Because of the very public setting of the assassination, which was carried out at close range on December 28, 2002, the fact that `Ali Ahmad Jarallah was the trigger-man in this killing is not in dispute. However, between twelve and thirty other persons have reportedly been detained in connection with the assassination and in connection with the reportedly related murders of three American medical missionaries two days later, on December 30.” It emphasized that Ali Ahmad Jarallah's extremist views stand behind his attack on Omar pointing out “However, Jarallah Omar's family and colleagues have expressed concern that government security services may have also played a role, citing, for example, meetings that the head of the Political Security Office, Ghalib al-Qamish, reportedly held with the accused assassin when he was in custody in 2000 and 2001.” It demands that a full and comprehensive investigation into the case should be made.
“The family of Jarallah Omar, through their lawyers, have sought without success to have adequate access to the results of the state's investigation into his killing. The prosecution's refusal to grant such access appears to contravene Article 122 of Yemen's Code of Criminal Procedure, which allows the accused and victim (or his or her heirs) to be present at all interrogation sessions. When the prosecutor, in urgent situations, conducts an investigation without their presence, under Article 122 they have a right of access to all documents pertaining to the investigation,” the message reads.
It points out that Article 16 of the U.N. Principles also speaks of the right of the family of the deceased and their legal representatives to have “access to any hearing as well as to all information relevant to the investigation.” Article 17 of the Principles calls for a written report “within a reasonable period of time on the methods and findings” of the investigation, and calls for the report to be made public.
“Given Jarallah Omar's status as one of Yemen's most important opposition figures, we strongly urge your government to take immediate steps to carry out a through, independent and impartial investigation into the circumstances surrounding his death. We thank you for your attention to this important matter, and look forward to your response,” the message stresses.
The court of Sana'a already upheld the case to pass the verdict against the defendant and some members of his gang by the mid of September.
Some politicians and lawyers demanded last week in a seminar to study the legal dimensions of the case that it should be taken to international tribunal, seeking the interference of UN legal organizations to stop the issuance of the verdict, seeking for more in-depth investigation that reveal all political dimensions of the crime and the defendant's compliance.