Penniless inmates appeal to president to fulfil promises [Archives:2006/987/Front Page]

October 5 2006

SANA'A, Oct. 4 ) Inmates in Sana'a Central Prison appealed to the president to release them all, based on the slogan “The penniless inmate is a state's citizen, head of a household, and has a lawful, constitutional, legal and human right in life.”

In a statement signed by most prisoners and published by Al-Shoura Net, inmates announced they received nothing from the billions riyals paid every year to release penniless inmates through a legal committee in charge of following up their issues. They said all the money didn't help release any penniless inmate, who finished serving the imprisonment term several years ago.

In their statement, penniless inmates indicated the president gave directives for forming a legal committee to pursue implementing amnesty with regard to prisoners who served 3/4 the imprisonment term, as well as to pay YR 200 million for poor inmates.

The statement mentioned reports by the Human Rights and Freedoms Committee at Parliament and Al-Shoura Council, with regard to wasting money donated to repay debts on penniless inmates over the past few years, revealed that a YR 200-million donation, in addition to another YR 70 million, was not spent to repay inmates debts.

Inmates questioned the fate of the money, which was not spent on their right purpose.

Another statement by 17 July Forum Coordinator, Sameera Dawood, on behalf of families and children of penniless inmates, argued that the committee, mandated to pursue procedures of releasing penniless inmates, was partial in dealing with cases of penniless inmates. It said the committee ignored many penniless inmates who have been jailed for several years and deserve to be freed.

“The concerned committee releases robbers, highwaymen and mutineers every year and ignores those deserving. We are ready to provide clear-cut evidence of what we said,” said the penniless inmates.

They appealed to president to treat them in compliance with legislation, law, constitution, logic and reason. They questioned: “Will he, the President of the Republic, respond to our pleas and sponsor justice?”

A list of around 55 inmates includes Yemenis, Arabs and foreigners, in addition to juveniles who cannot repay the debts on them.

“Every year, official media talk of directives by President of Republic to release penniless inmates, who have been imprisoned for years,” an observer said. “Such talk by official media is merely for consumption.”