PSO continues to detain U.S. citizen Khalid Sherif [Archives:2008/1202/Local News]

October 27 2008

Khaled Al-Hilaly
SANA'A, Oct. 25 ) Although there are no charges against American-Yemeni citizen Khalid Al-Sherif, 23, he continues to be detained by the Political Security Organization (PSO).

An American of Yemeni origin, Khalid Al-Sherif was detained in June this year while on holiday from the United States where he had been living and studying.

This September, a presidential directive was issued to release several detainees including journalist Abdulkarim Al-Khaiwani and Lu'ai Al-Muayyad, but Al-Sherif was not on the list.

According to sources close to Al-Sherif, he has no interest in Yemeni politics.

His only fault was that he had many friends in Yemen who he used to meet in internet chat rooms and exchange emails with. Some of these friends were on the Yemeni security watch list, and Al-Sherif may therefore have been found guilty by association.

The US embassy in Sana'a reported Al-Sherif's ordeal to the State Department in Washington, and sent a diplomatic note to the Yemeni authorities protesting at his physical mistreatment by the National Security Bureau (NSB) where he was secretly detained prior to his transfer to the PSO, the sources added.

The Yemeni government has yet to respond to the protest.

Al-Sherif's Hashemite background is believed to have played a role in him being targeted, since the Yemeni authorities have been suspecting all Hashemites to be sympathetic to the Houthis. When Khalid was detained he was told by the NSB that they suspected him of being a Houthi-sympathizer.

The U.S. embassy in Sana'a has refused to comment on any Yemeni-US issue for the time being.