Officer: Is it possible to throw you from the plane?Al-Awbali victim of wrongful arrest [Archives:2005/834/Community]

April 18 2005

Hassan Al-Zaidi
When the security authorities tend to be the main reason behind the misery of the citizens by destroying their livelihoods and ambitions, people do not have confidence in the security authorities to protect them.

Mohammad al-Awbali is one of the several people who have endured wrongful and arbitrary security procedures. He was held in prison and deprived of pursuing his job by the security apparatuses without any justification. He is one of several who were imprisoned without any proof, and not compensated after his release. He is one of a series of victims whose rights are not ensured by the law and the constitution.

To discuss the facts behind such illegal practices by the authorities upon innocent people, we forwarded the following questions to Mohammad al-Awbali who was caught at his work in the UAE to be deported to Yemen without any justification.

Q. Can you explain how you were captured by the police in the UAE?

A. First of all, my name is Mohammad Ahmad Mubarak al-Awbali from Sewah District, Marib. I traveled to the UAE in search of work to sustain my family. I have been there for three years and worked for a modest company as a driver assistant with an attractive salary. On Dec. 29 2004, the Abu Dhabi Police came to my workplace, asked me to submit my passport and ID and said that I am wanted by the Yemeni authorities, so they threw me in prison.

Q. How long were you detained?

A. I remained in prison for two days until two officers from the Yemeni Interpol came and took me along with my documents to the airport where there was a special plane waiting for me without anybody on board except me, another person and the crew.

Q. Have you ever learned why you were detained and with what you were charged?

A. I did not known anything until the UAE's airport officers said that I was wanted by the Yemeni authorities. When I was handed over to the Sana'a Interpol, officials there stamped my passport red and prevented me from entering the UAE again.

When on board the plane, I asked one of the officers “what is the matter?” and he answered “you are Sheikh Mohammad Ahmad who is wanted by Yemen”. Then I told him “I am a laborer and not a sheikh, have a look at my passport in your hands”. When the officer looked at the passport, he said: “we have been mistaken, you are not the wanted person, but what can I do for you now! Is it possible to throw you from the plane”.

Q. What happened to you when you arrived in Yemen?

A. After I arrived in Yemen, I was immediately transferred to the investigation department where I remained for three days without being interrogated. Afterwards a police officer came, saying “sorry we have committed a mistake, the wanted person is Sheikh Mohammad Ahmad Ali and not you, we did not get the name correct.” Then I was released.

Q. Do you know with what the wanted person was charged?

A. According to them, the man is wanted by the authorities to come to Sana'a in order to convince his followers to surrender themselves to the authorities for killing a sheikh in Sana'a. I do not know any further details about the allegation.

Q. What happened to you then?

A. I was taken to the Interpol where officials there sent a letter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to talk with the UAE Embassy in Sana'a concerning my case. But I have been waiting for almost four months without any solution and officials at the Sana'a Interpol said that I am prevented from meeting with the Minister of the Interior. In addition, the Ministry of Expatriates sent a letter to the Ministry of Interior on my behalf but there is still no response.

Q. What did the Interpol do for you?

A. They wrote me a letter of apology for their mistake. They sent a letter to the Council of Arab Interior Ministers in Abu Dhabi saying that there was a mistake concerning my handover to the Yemeni authorities and I am not the wanted man.

Q. Any final words?

Via your newspaper, I appeal to HE Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed, President of United Arab Emirates to intervene in my issue. Because of wrong security procedures, I lost my job, which is the only source of income to sustain my family. Have the security authorities become the cause of misery and strife of citizens instead of protecting them? I hope this question reaches President Saleh and Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed.