Murder in Al-Mahweet [Archives:1999/15/Local News]

April 12 1999

It has been an uphill battle. Trying to get information on the death – or rather the murder- of Mohammed Al-Kowkabani in Attaweelah, Al-Mahweet Governorate has been nearly impossible.
Three weeks ago, Mohammed was arrested for theft. The 18 year lad was charged with stealing a television set. He denied the charge, but to no avail. He was told to confess, and when he refused, various forms of torture were applied.
The young man died.
There was panic at the office of Director of Security. Part of the reason is that he is from Abyan – somewhat out of the northern tribal structure. The director slept on the bad news, and tried to make a deal with the relatives of the dead man. They refused to collect the body, and soon word of the murder was all over the small town.
It was six days later that the Attorney’s office took charge of the case. Mohammed Al-Qatta’, District Attorney, is now investigating. “We have not completed our investigations and we want the media to stay away,” he threatened. But the Director of Security (whose identity the paper won’t disclose for safety reasons) was arrested and taken off the job, for now.
The Yemen Times contacted the family members of the dead man. They want full retribution. The two sides – the family and the paper – collaborated in putting together a file on the case. This was presented to the attorney general, and if there is no swift and comprehensive action, it will go to the human rights organizations.