JMP escalates protests as political detainees remain in jail [Archives:2008/1154/Local News]

May 12 2008

Mohammed Bin Salam
SANA'A, May 10 ) A number of political activists from the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) and civil community organizations protested on Wednesday and Thursday against the government for not releasing political detainees.

The protesters insisted that the authority free all political detainees who were arbitrarily arrested and jailed in a manner contravening the Constitution and effective laws. They also demanded that the government disclose all those secretly jailed in the various security and military jails, as well as cease illegal practices, crackdowns and escalating attacks that seem to be threatening the narrow margin of democracy and press freedoms in Yemen, according to the protesters.

The protestors released a statement claiming that the government must question, interrogate and refer to court all those involved in crimes against humanity and unconstitutional practices to face announced, transparent and fair trials.

They confirmed that they are ready to continue such protests and sit-ins until the government responds to their legal demands, calling on all participants in the various political and social demonstrations in Yemen to continue their peaceful protests in order to press the authority to respect the Constitution and relevant laws, as well as protect rights and public freedoms.

Participants in a sit-in staged at the Yemeni Socialist Party (YSP) central committee condemned in a statement the illegal use of force and all internationally-prohibited forms of violence the authority practices against citizens. The statement accused the authority of violating the Constitution and effective laws, and committing crimes against humanity.

The protestors' statement contained a list of 137 political detainees, recorded until April 30, most of whom are from the YSP. According to the statement, some of these detainees are jailed in political security prisons in Sana'a, Aden and Abyan, while others are in criminal investigation bureau, military police and central prisons.

YSP Secretary-General Yasin Sa'eed Noman gave a speech to the participants, expressing concern that the country may face unprecedented crises in the event people resort to other violent actions if the government refuses to meet their demands. Noman indicated that the opposition parties will continue peaceful struggle for the sake of supporting and defending freedoms, which he described as 'the main option' for the JMP to restore law and order.

Ali Al-Yazidi, the Deputy Secretary-General of the Nasserite Unionist Popular Organization (part of the JMP), urged the protesters to include in their statement the case of Yemeni citizens who were burned by Saudi police on March 23 while trying to hide in the bordering area of Khamis Musheit. He criticized the authority for not reacting to the incident in which Yemeni citizens, trying to cross into Saudi Arabia in search of work, suffered an unprecedented holocaust in the Arab world, pointing out that the government only cares about maintaining relations with Saudi authorities.