Parliament take act in feudal Sheikh issue [Archives:2007/1026/Local News]

February 19 2007

SANA'A, Feb. 18 ) The Parliament has composed a special committee to investigate the accusations against Sheikh Mohammed Ahmed Mansour, a powerful leader in Ibb, after people demonstrated for days in front of Parliament. Mansour was accused of evacuating many peasants working on his land in Al-Ja'ashin and abusively treating the people.

The committee is composed of seven MPs known for defending human rights and lead by MP Sheikh Mohammed Al-Shaef, head of the human rights and freedoms committee in Parliament. The MPs urged the government to provide shelter and food for the demonstrating citizens who have been camping over a week in Dar Salam in the capital region.

The committee evolved after heated debates in the Parliament where Al-Ja'ashin villagers plight was seen to be politically motivated. However, the committee started operating yesterday itself as it met with the villagers and agreed to stop the demonstration and arrange for them to return to their homes peacefully.

MP Abdulrazaq Al-Hajri, a member of the composed committee, stressed the importance of not leaving the case in the hands of the local jurisdiction in Ibb, which had rejected their case earlier and accused them of rebellion.

Other MPs urged Parliament to secure protection for these people once they return home in fear of being subjected to vindictive measure by the powerful Sheikh.

Earlier this month the men of Al-Ja'ashin village left the women behind and evacuated their homes in protest of the abuse they suffer under the control of Mansour. The villagers allege that consultative council member Mansour oppressed, harassed and imposed unlawful duties upon them and that the sheikh's militia regularly loots and robs them.

Media, especially opposition, has taken up this issue heatedly and argued this is a violation against human rights and accused the sheikh of throwing the villagers out of their homes by force. However, Mansour denied these complaints that what is being proposed in opposition newspapers is nothing but rubbish.

“They want to disgrace me and damage my image for political reasons,” he said.