Letters to the Editor [Archives:2001/20/Letters to the Editor]

May 14 2001

Dear Editor
Last September I contacted your newspaper, (and a number of other Yemeni newspapers) expressing our concerns about the case and possibly pending execution of Mr. Fuad Ali Mohsen Al-Shahari.
Amnesty International, of which I am a member, is opposed to the use of capital punishment for any crime. The more so in this case, where the circumstances concerning his arrest and subsequent trial seem to have fallen short of recognized international standards for fair trail.
According to Amnesty International Fuad Ali Mohsen Al-Shahari has been condemned to death for murder. The killing reportedly took place in may 1996 in the town of Taiz while armed men were attempting to arrest Fuad Ali Mohsen Al-Shahari without a warrant. Fuad Ali Mohsen Al-Shahari had reportedly been stopped in his car by Captain Mohammed Al-Ameri of the PS. He was then surrounded by armed men. A gun battle ensured, the precise details of which remain unclear. However, it is known that a number of shorts were fired, including at least one by Fuad Ali Mohsen Al-Shahari, and that Captain Mohammed Al-Ameri was killed. After his arrest Fuad Ali Mohsen Al-Shahari was reportedly held in incommunicado detention for one month, during which he was reportedly beaten in order to force him to confess. The existence of four different versions of his confession and of contradictory forensic evidence appears not to have been taken fully into account by the court. At the Court of Appeal it appears that Fuad Ali Mohsen Al-Shahari did not have a lawyer and, in presenting his own appeal, was not permitted to cross examine at least some of the witnesses.
I take comfort in the fact that the Supreme Court, on 20 may 1999 sent the case back to the Court of Appeal. However, we have not had any news of developments since summer 2000, and am still concerned that Fuad Ali Mohsen Al-Shahari shall:
1. not be executed
2. have a fair retrial in accordance with recognized Yemeni and international standards for fair trial.

I have been browsing the web pages of several Yemeni newspapers. On your pages I have found a number of articles discussing the judicial and human rights situation in your country, among them one about Fuad Ali Mohsen Al-Shahari. As you obviously share our concerns regarding fair trial and basic human rights in Yemen, I kindly ask you to print this letter in your newspaper. It is our hope that publishing international awareness of possible wrongdoing, shall influence development in Mr. Al-Sharai’s case to such an extend that justice will be done.
Yours sincerely
Lars Brubaek
Amnesty International
Group Nr 285 Norway

Dear Editor,
I read with great interest the thoughtful survey of university education in Yemen which appeared in the 23 April 2001 issue of your newspaper. Many of the problems mentioned by the students and rectors in this article are shared by universities in the United States. Most US universities would also complain of inadequate funding for libraries and laboratories, of poorly prepared students and of overworked instructors. And even in the best US universities, students (and teachers) who are truly serious about their academic work often find themselves in the minority.
There is a fundamental tension regarding university education in democratic societies. The tension concerns whether universities should concentrate their attention on the students with the best preparation and the greatest aptitude for scholarship, or should instead spread their resources widely to meet the needs of less talented or less fortunate students. Concentrating on the best and the brightest runs the risk of crating an intellectual elite; focusing exclusively on mass education risks diluting the overall quality of higher education.
This dilemma has been mitigated, although not resolved, in practice in the US through the emergence of a limited number of elite universities, whose mission is to introduce students to the most advanced theories and the latest technologies. In the world of the 21st century. These elite institutions have cultivated close ties to private sector companies, which often provide equipment and research funding to their faculty and graduate students. This is not always a happy situation, and sometimes produces major conflicts of interest between private sponsorship and the demands of scientific inquiry. But it is probably true that in the end, linkage between private enterprise and public universities have made important contributions to scientific and intellectual advance in the US, western Europe and Japan.
Other US universities have set up honors programs or special colleges to promote the education of the most talented and best prepared students. These honors programs allow faculty to give their best efforts to a limited number of students, who have earned their entry into the programs by merit and who remain in the programs only as long as they continue to excel. Such programs are sometimes criticized as being undernocratic, but they do seem to encourage academic achievement among faculty and students alike.
There is no question that university libraries have become almost impossible to maintain, given the constantly rising cost of books and periodicals. The only hope may lie in the expansion of internet-based information systems. It is now technically possible for internet connections to reach universities through satellite hook-ups, and for information to be distributed quickly and efficiently through local computer networks.
If universities in Yemen can obtain official permission to establish such independent satellite hook-ups, they may not need to invest in expensive printed publications, which tend quickly to go out of date. Whether or not universities will be able to take this step entails a number of crucial political decisions regarding the regulation of telephones and other means of communication. Deregulation entails both costs and benefits, as the deregulation of utility companies in the US during the 1990s clearly demonstrates.
But at least in this particular case, reducing the degree of central control may make it possible for higher education in Yemen to take a substantial leap, catapulting this country’s universities into the forefront of international scholarship.
Fred H. Lawson,
Fulbright Lecturer in International Relations,
College of Economics,
Aden University

Dear Editor,
I am writing this letter to inform you that the Yemeni government is not doing everything in their power to turn Yemen from a poor uneducated country to a well-respected and wealthy country. Yemeni citizens are leaving Yemen every day due to a lack of jobs. The most educated Yemenis are not working in Yemen. They are working in the United States and other countries worldwide. If the Yemeni government would like to help Yemen improve socially and economically it must provide its citizens with better job training in order to improve their working skills.
Ghassan Amin Ahmed Alsaidi
[email protected]

Dear Editor,
Since we are approaching the eleventh anniversary of our unity, I would like to send you the best regards and compliments from all third level undergraduate students at the Aden College of Education. Let me take this opportunity to ask you a few questions. Firstly, why you don’t pay at least a minimum of attention to writing about local and international sporting news in line with the overall political-economic and religious issues we are familiar with. We would like to read about this in your news paper, especially with the increasing readership it has nowadays among the majority of undergraduate students in the English Department?
Secondly, can we write to you a well organized essay in order to be published as the others do? Finally, when will the Yemen Times be published twice or thrice a week instead of being published only once a week?
Yours faithfully
Adeeb Abdul Gabbar
Aden College of Education,
Third Year – Aden

More ink on paper
Human rights is one of the main subjects that are discussed widely throughout the world. In fact, this matter deserves all the care because of the bad situations, poverty, fear and suffering, in which the whole world lives. All countries represented by UN, consequently, announced in New york in 1998, the Declaration of Human Rights. All people throughout the world received the news happily and felt that the end of wars, sufferings and poverty would come very soon. They felt happy because giving everyone his rights lead to a world full of productivity, creativity and happiness. Unfortunately, the happiness of those people did not last long. Their happiness went with the wind after an awful crime was committed not only against the innocent boy, Mohammed Al-Dorrah, but also against all children throughout the world. This crime destroyed all prospects. What a pity! People are accustomed to hearing about crimes like this a lot. Al-Dorrah was not the only child who was killed in this awful way. There are hundreds of ordinary people, innocent women and children being killed every day in an unkindly manner. Yet, blindness and deafness dominate the world. Children of those innocent people of white hearts cry and sigh desperately as if they say ‘What’s our fault to suffer like this?!!’ They cry and sigh waiting for the answer to echo of their sounds. The answer comes back and tells them sadly: “don’t bother yourselves because kind hearted people passed away and Human Rights is mere ink on paper.”Mohammed Mohammed Al-Malahi
Faculty of Languages – English Department
Level 2
Dear Editor,
Ihesitated a lot to write to you but at last I assured myself that you’ll not regret my letter.
In response to the article written by Mr. Jalal Al-Shara’abi issue No. 17 about Issues before Minister of Information. I would be happy if you allow me to say that Mr. Alawadhy is the right person in the right place and I am sure that he will change to the better as he did in the Saba Agency. But I have one thing to say to Mr. Al-Awadhi which is:Every body was happy for your choice as Information Minister, but don’t disappoint your lovers and bend to the common problems and difficulties and not to reform anything.
Your very truly
Abdul Rahman Al-Moallimi
P. O. Box: 92

Dear Editor,
Why don’t you send copies of Yemen Times to Yemeni immigrants in the Netherlands to be in touch with their homeland? You could also send copies of old issues of your prestigious newspaper. If you could, please send us copies of the last issues to the Rotterdam-based Yemeni Youth Organization.
Jamal Al-dhuraiby
Yemeni Youth Organization
A. Deken Str. 43
3027 RA – Rotterdam
The Netherlands