Secrecy involving Sheikh al-Mouayad is one injusticeWar on terror has winners and losers [Archives:2004/711/Opinion]

February 12 2004

By Abdulla Sallam al-Hakimi
For The Yemen Times

I'm not here in the position for defending Sheikh al-Mouayad or attempting to acquit this virtuous man who the German government handed over to the American authorities that accuse him with charges pertaining to terror, as was then reported by media. The German measure had ended a period of ten months al-Mouayad had spent in custody in Germany. Nevertheless, I do not want necessarily to give the impression that I do not want to defend al-Mouayad. But this could be rather an impossible task due to the utter secrecy of information regarding charges against him and evidence those charges based on.
Since the American administration has led its campaign on against terror, it has been following a variety of policies, which include launching a direct destructive war against a state and occupying it, as what happened in Afghanistan, carrying out special operations of liquidation and bloody assassinations, as in Yemen, or a large-scale and random arrests of persons and keeping them in excluded prisons in closed American military bases, or killing large numbers of detainees and prisoners of war whose hands and feet are chained, as is the case in Guantanamo base and Afghanistan.
Part of the American administration policy in this regard are the intensified and large-scale chasings of persons, political parties, and political, financial educational, cultural and charitable organizations and taking despotic and excessively severe measures against them all over the world.
Regretfully these instances of measures and practices are carried out according to a highly secretive and ambiguous program to the extent that one does not know why people are arrested and why are some of them released, if they were set free.
People also wonder about the reason why properties and assets of political parties, organizations and societies and individuals are frozen. All that is done amidst utter secrecy and extreme violation of all legal conditions and requites of human rights and dignity. This is a dangerous and disagreeable precedence, particularly when practiced by a superpower claiming protection and care of democracy, liberalism and human rights.
The situation has reached the topmost danger and chaos when the American administration added other pretexts and justifications to that of fighting terror and terrorists justifying for it what it wants to realize and the policies to take against any country it chooses as a target. The added pretexts and causes are such as weapons of mass destruction, dictatorship, violations of human rights and democracy and alike of justifications. By this policy the greatest military power in the world has dictated an unprecedented international situation characterised by two major features:
1-The United States, as the sole superpower in the world, unilaterally decides to wage wars on small countries and occupy them militarily, regardless of the fact that they are independent sovereign states and internationally recognised members of the international community.
A stark example is what happened to the republic of Iraq in launching a comprehensive war of aggression against it, toppling its legitimate political system and occupying its territories under pretexts of its possession of WMD.
The latter allegation was refuted and proved groundless by international weapon inspection teams. However, the occupying forces could not find the simplest evidence on that allegation up till now despite of their full colonialist domination over the entire land of Iraq.
This situation pushed the occupation troops to promote another pretext, i.e. dictatorship and oppressiveness of President Saddam Hussein's regime against his people. The United States of America has also propagated that it has exposed itself to dangers of the war and its material and human sacrifices just in sympathy with the people of Iraq to grant them the expensive gift of democracy.
2-The world's sole superpower has unsheathed the sword of threat, intimidation and sanctions against any of the world independent states it wants. The U.S. administration has granted for itself alone the outright right for granting ” indulgence documents'' and issuing “certificates of good conduct'' to this state or that and categorizing those states as evil and good according to its criteria and interests. Though up till now the American list of ” rogue” regimes is confined to mainly North Korea, topping the list are also countries like Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Pakistan as well as of Egypt, Sudan, Somalia and Yemen.
The list is liable to be beefed up continually whenever the world superpower interests and targets necessitated that. This policy does not differentiate between a hostile or a friend or an ally because the goal is the land and its wealth and situation and not the philosophy and orientation of the political system.
This newly-effected international situation has stripped the international organisation with all its bodies of its role and responsibilities for regulating and steering courses of relations and cooperation among the world nations and keeping security, peace and stability between them. The sole world superpower the individual having the right to determine and steer the world affairs. We have to regretfully admit that the United States of America has been able with military and financial might to force many world states to give it whatever t wants of privileges and presence on their territories, and to abide by all its demands and conditions, even if that contradicted their national sovereignty.
To discuss sheikh al-Mouayad's case I would like to point out that he wanted to travel to Germany, whether for medical treatment or for other reasons, and he was granted the German visa, according to which he traveled to Germany. There were not any points against him as being persona non grata. Granting a visa to a person by any country means he is not forbidden from entering that country and accordingly he should guaranteed safety and respect and good treatment as long as he respects that country's laws, otherwise he would be asked to leave that country. But arrest that person and hand him over to another country in dependence to accusations based on the latter's vision, it is something too difficult to be accepted, regardless of the international agreements the American administration has trampled and disregarded.
For instance in Yemen, where the tribal characteristic is prevalent, tribes traditions and norms, dictate, among other things, that in case there is a state of personal vengeance between one person and another and if by chance the two have greeted each other on that day the one demanding the vengeance has no right to take vengeance against that person throughout that day. If the two adversaries shook hands on that day the period prohibiting revenge can be extended for several days. Measuring on this, the granting of a visa by a certain country to a person could be an assurance pledge that must be observed and respected.
In Islam, the protection of a seeker of refuge is a must even if he were an arch enemy of Muslims. Thus it would have been better for Germany, the friendly country that is respected and appreciated by the Yemenis not to grant sheikh al-Mouayad and his companion an entry visa or to ask them to leave the country or handing them to their own country. Many people ask about the reason why the United States did not ask the Yemeni government to hand over sheikh al-Mouayad to it for detaining and trying him. Was the whole what happened meant for deforming the image of Germany in the eyes of the Yemeni people?
On the other hand, a certainpressure on another state for handing over one of its nationals to be tried and interrogated according to its own laws and then punishing him, would be a precedent that would entail the most serious consequences, most of which is the destruction of the concept of the state and loyalty of its people. It would cancel the national loyalty of the individual.
We are with the punishment of criminals and not to leave them at large, but why should not America or any other country ask the authorities of the country to which those criminals belong to interrogate, try and punish them?
Sheikh al-Mouayad was socially well-known as one of the outstanding philanthropists in Yemen and has worked throughout most of his life for the establishment of a charitable foundation “The charitable Ihsan Foundation'' in the capital Sana'a. Through this foundation he kept extending help to around eight thousand poor families, especially during the fasting month of Ramadan. He has also founded a teaching center for the sons of poor families to get free of charge education and learning various branches of knowledge, including the science of computer and languages as well as providing them with free of charge medication.
The fasting month of Ramadan has been evidence on those poor people loss of such a philanthropist to help them overcome difficult circumstances of living. The American administration has never thought, even for one moment, about such a bitter humanitarian situation and this has invoked resentment and anger of the people against the American administration.
The bitter fact is that as the American administration has begun its war against the so-called terror, it carried out the freezing of activities and assets of a large number of humane charitable establishments and foundations throughout the world that consequently led to deprivation of millions of the poor in the world of those foundations' humanitarian help, under the pretext that those establishments finance terror, even without having real evidence on that.
This pursuit arouses hatred against the American administration and its policies and creates fixed conviction among large segments of people to be in sympathy with those so-termed as terrorists, as long as such philanthropy acts and assistance of the poor are presented by them.