NGO calls on president not to approve agreement with Spain [Archives:2007/1097/Front Page]

October 25 2007

By:Yemen Times Staff
SANA'A, Oct. 23 – The National Organization for Defending Rights and Freedoms, a Sana'a-based non-governmental organization known as HOOD, is appealing to President Ali Abdullah Saleh and the Yemeni government not to approve an agreement to exchange convicts with Spain until it [Spain] releases Tayseer Alloni, a journalist working with Al-Jazeera satellite channel detained in Spain.

In an Oct. 21 statement, the organization said President Saleh already has called for Alloni's release.

This came after Yemen's Oct. 21 announcement that it would hand over Nabil Nankali, a Spaniard of Syrian origin, to Spanish authorities. Nankali was arrested in Yemen in 1997 on terrorism charges, along with a number of suspects. A Yemeni court sentenced him to death.

HOOD called on President Saleh to demand Alloni's release in exchange for handing over Nankali.

Abdul-Rahman Al-Kamrani, charge d'affaires of the Yemeni embassy, and Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos signed an Oct. 20 agreement with Spain in its capital of Madrid to exchange convicts.

Yahya Al-Khazzan, head of conferences and international cooperation at Yemen's Justice Ministry, said Yemen will hand over Nankali after finalizing procedures of the agreement signed between the two countries. He noted that the agreement will become effective after Yemeni Cabinet approval followed by a republican decree issued for its approval.

Yemen currently has no convicts in Spain and Nankali is the only Spanish convict in Yemen.

In an interview with the official web site, Al-Khazzan stated that there's only one Yemeni prisoner in Egypt and an agreement has yet to be approved to receive him. “That's the only case we know about,” he added.

According to Al-Khazzan, there are Yemeni prisoners in other countries, including Syria, but no agreements have been signed with such countries to hand the prisoners over to Yemen.

Moratinos and Yemeni Foreign Minister Abu Bakr Al-Qirbi inaugurated the Spanish Embassy in Sana'a on April 19, 2006. The two nations have signed a number of agreements in various fields since then.