Military Campaign Against Private Jails [Archives:1999/43/Local News]

October 25 1999

In a swift military campaign, five private jails were destroyed in the Al-Udain district, 220 km South of Sana’a last Friday. The tribe leaders, Sheikh Sadeq Amin Basha and Sheikh Mohammed Al-Massawi, were arrested as well. However, they were released yesterday after the mediation of some ranking tribal figures. At the same time, 24 prisoners, five of them accused of murder were transferred to the Prosecution to finalize their cases. The government’s military campaign was kicked off last Friday in a special mission in the Al-Udain district to demolish all the prisons constructed by the tribe leaders. All the prisons were exploded by dynamite after all the prisoners were set free. During the mission, the forces belonging to Sheikh Amin Sadeq were not mute spectators. The clash resulted in one death, as well as the injury to three others from the Al-Sheikh’s followers and one death from the military troops. An official source has confirmed the government’s firm will to pull down all the private prisons in order to reinforce the state’s authority over all the Yemeni land. Such private prisons have been a point of severe criticism from the International organizations concerned with human rights. It is worth mentioning that a number of Yemeni districts are still under the tribal control. In such districts, everything you can imagine is under the autocratic control of Sheikhs or the tribe leaders. The place of our story is the best example of such districts.