Report of the Human Rights and General Liberties Subcommittee of Parliament [Archives:2001/40/Reportage]

October 1 2001

Prepared for publishing by Ismail Al-Ghabiri
The Human Rights and General Liberties of the Parliamentary Sub-Committee issued a report on its field visit to a number of central prisons and temporary detention centers in the governorate of Hodeidah, Hadramaut, Abyan and Lahaj. It is clear that from this report, prepared by the sub-committee, that the prisons suffer a number of difficulties including over-congestion, carelessness and a long delay in dealing with disputes.
During the information collection stage in security departments, police stations and the criminal investigation departments, the committee observed the following:
– Some of the detainees, particularly the ones detained at the Criminal Investigation Bureau in Hodeidah, have exceeded the period of one month, which is inconsistent with the paragraph (g) of Article No. 48 of the Constitution.
– Some persons are detained because of simple civil cases that have nothing to do with the criminal investigation.
– Juveniles are detained together with adults, under the pretext that they have no special rooms for detaining juveniles.
– Lack of coordination between the criminal investigation departments and the other security departments and the prosecution, with exception for the governorate of Hadramaut
– Some emergency and temporary detention centers are unfit, particularly the criminal investigation office and the emergency detention center in Hodeidah, Mukala’s security office, and al-Qaten’s Security office in Hadramaut.
– Lack of food and medical provisions at the emergency and temporary detention centers in almost all the governorates.
– Lack of electricity supply and adequate ventilation at the detention centers in al-Mukala, the criminal investigation office in Hodeidah, Lahaj’s security department and al-Qaten’s prison in Hadramaut.
– Prolonging the period of questioning of some detainees and not abiding by the extension of the concerned courts in most cases.
– Some prosecutions neglect following up with and regularly visiting the emergency and temporary detention centers, with the view of checking the legality of the procedures taken.
– Not providing the prisons’ administrators with copies of the verdicts made against the prisoners immediately after issuing them.
– Some prosecution departments do not follow up with the application of the final verdicts and the release of detainees immediately after the elapsed period of detention stipulated by the verdicts, as well as not following up on the cases of detainees who have completed the term of imprisonment issued against them.
– Some persons are in detention for simple cases which could be solved by having guarantees instead of detention.
– Some people were found to be in detention although they had completed the prescribed period for the investigation of the prosecution, namely at the Abyan Central Prison.
The committee also observed the following irregularities at courts and prosecution:
– The legal proceedings at primary and appeals courts are processed in a very slow manner, and the delay of many settlements of so many cases at the Supreme Court, as the committee observed that there are many detainees who have spent one year in prison whose cases are still pending at courts.
– The courts do not abide by the sessions’ timetables, which in turn gives the chance to the people willing to proceed and follow up their cases and prolongs the period of detention for the people who cannot pay the lawyers’ fees.
– Courts do not carry out even the final verdicts.
– Al-Qaten court in Hadramaut is understaffed, resulting in further delays in the processing of the different cases.
– The committee also observed that the situation of the central prison has not yet improved, and that most of them lack the necessary facilities needed, despite the recommendations of the parliament to the government to tackle this issue.
Observations of the Committee
Central prisons in the governorate of Hodeidah, Abyan and Sayoun are overcrowded. Also, Hodeidah Central Prison has inmates which are the double number of its capacity.
– Classifying the inmates according to article 32 of the Prisons Regulating Act (PRA) with exception to article No. 5 are not enforced at prisons, as the committee has observed that the adult inmates are detained together irrespective of their crimes. Also, adult and juvenile inmates are detained together at Hodeidah, Mukala, and Sayoun prisons, especially during the daytime. Similarly, Yemeni and foreign inmates are detained together, although they suffer serious infectious diseases according to the officials of the prisons, and this is a violation of article No. 32 of the PRA.
– Mentally deranged persons at Hodeidah and Mukala prisons are detained together with the normal inmates and are in a dire need of medical care.
Central prisons in Hodeidah, Lahaj, Sayoun and Abyan lack training workshops for inmates.
Recommendations of the Committee
The committee is urging the government to make the necessary remedies and solutions that ensure reducing the number of crimes and the reasons leading to committing crimes; enacting by-laws regulating the work of the judicial and inspection authorities; ensuring the prompt application of the issued final verdicts; providing the required funds for the establishment of workshops at central prisons; establishing asylums and providing them with its different requirements; releasing any detainees who have completed their detention period; and qualifying the administrative staff in charge of prisons.