Less spread of drugs in Yemen [Archives:2006/913/Local News]

January 19 2006

SANA'A, Jan. 10 ) Dr. Hanifa Rabbani, secretary of the International Committee for Combating Drugs (ICCD), affirmed Monday that Yemen is one of the countries witnessing less spread in the drug trade and also less drug consumption. Saba Net reported that in a meeting held Monday between an ICCD delegation and the Ministry of Interior's Department of Combating Drugs (DCD), Hanifa said Yemen exerts much effort in combating the drug trade and addiction.

In the meeting, DCD head Brigadier Khalid Al-Radi discussed with the delegation ways to fight drugs in Yemen with the ICCD's help. Al-Radi said such cooperation produces fruitful results in combating drugs. He added that Yemen is one of the countries approving a 1992 international treaty to combat drugs.

The delegation also made a detailed survey on efforts by the DCD and its 23 branches throughout the country, especially at land, sea and air outlets.

The delegation met with the High Committee for Monitoring Drugs (HCMD) and discussed the committee's role in monitoring legal entrance of narcotics into Yemen. HCMD head Abdullah Abdulkhaliq referred to HCMD capabilities and its role in monitoring and putting limits on drugs entering Yemen.

Dr. Nabil Hazza', manager of Al-Jumhury Hospital in Sana'a, met with Rabbani and discussed the possibility of providing a special center for drug addicts, built by the hospital.

The Ministry of Interior stated that in 2005, 36 drug trade crimes were controlled? and 77 drug smugglers arrested. In the second half of 2003, security authorities seized a container loaded with drugs worth $10 million and arrested the traffickers.

On October 2, 2004, seven drug suspects stood trial in the Specialized Penal Court in Sana'a. A month later, Sana'a anti-drug authorities referred six drug cases to the prosecution, which then began investigating 12 people involved in those cases.

In May 2004, security forces arrested a drug gang in Taiz and on July 29, police arrested two female Somali nationals along with 35 grams of drugs in Aden. Similarly, Sana'a security forces arrested three people with three kilos of drugs.

Hashish, said to be more widespread in Yemen than other drugs, and has been used here for more than a decade. It is grown locally in places like Ibb and Taiz, according to locals. In April 2005, security authorities arrested four people with 22 kilos of hashish worth more than 10 million Riyals. The accused have been referred to the General Prosecution.

Considering Yemen's strategic location, drugs usually are shipped from Southeast Asia through the Gulf of Aden and the country's other coasts. From there, it is shipped to numerous Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and other countries in the region. Not surprisingly, many of these illegal drugs are left behind and used in Yemen. New markets for these drugs have been created in places like Aden, Hodieda and other cities across the Red Sea and Arabian Gulf shores.