Security chief promises Waeel will be freed [Archives:2007/1079/Front Page]

August 23 2007

By: Nisreen Shadad
HAJJA, August 22 ) Seven of around 40 people imprisoned without trial and accused of having links with Al Houthi are to be released. They have been in prison for up to five months. The seven include three children aged l5, one of whom, Waeel Ghalib, was pictured on the front page of the Yemen Times on Monday.

Khalid Al-Anisi, executive director the National Organization for the Defense of Rights and Freedoms, who has been acting for the seven, says that they are being released because the sheiks in charge of their village in Hajja and the MP for the district of Miftah have both guaranteed the “good behavior” of the Seven.

“This means the seven have agreed not to belong to, or support any political group that opposes the government. They should also make a commitment not to follow any radical school of thought. This includes all religious schools of which the government disapproves.”

The director of the central security in Hajja, Ali al-Timbala, said: “The prisoners were arrested because they are working with al-Houthi or supporting him or studying his rebellious thoughts. The seven prisoners are actually the prisoners of al-Miftah district only. The other prisoners are from other districts. I have received orders from the Governor to release these seven only.”

Al-Timbala says that all the prisoners were arrested in Sa'ada and categorically denies that children of l5 have been imprisoned. He said all the prisoners were older. The Yemen Times has files which show that children under l5 are among those detained. And that some of the prisoners were arrested in Hajja.

The director of Security added that the other prisoners were being kept in jail because they have not brought guarantees from the powerful people, such as Sheiks and district MPs.

Ghalib Mukbil al-Ahnumi is sceptical about the release. His son is one of the seven and he has been told before that they are about to be released but nothing happened.

Al-ahnumi, a teacher in al-Zaidi dawaween (a room where students gather for religious studies after school) said the government closed these dawaween before the first war of Sa'ada. They arrested six people from al-Miftah district; three of them teachers.

“I was one of the teachers. For 21 days we are in the prison, after that we were released.

When we see everything calm down, we open again to study our religion. Students are almost 40 in number. When the Security authorities got to know that we were open they closed us once again and arrested seven. Three of them are children and one of them is my son. They said they are arrested us because they think that the war in Sa'ada will soon spread to Hajja.”

Al-Anisi says that Zaidists are a Shia sect whose beliefs place them half way between Shia and Sunni. ” Zaidis say that their belief is a far cry from Houthism belief as Houthism are actually Ja'afarya. This sect (Ja'afarya), believes that the ruler has to be one of Hassan and Al-Hussein ancestors, (al-Hassan and Al-Hussein are the sons of Ali bin Abi Talib). However, Zaidisim believes that the priority for the ancestors of Al-Hassan and Al-Hussein, but it is not a condition. If there is someone better he can be the ruler”.

Only one of those detained has known links to al Houthi. Adbullah al-Sharafi said the real reason of his arrest is because he is a husband of Yahya al-Houthi's daughter. (Yahya al-Houthi is a brother of the leader of Hessian and Adbul Malik; the leaders on Houthism movement).

Khalid al- Anisi, says everything to do with the arrests and detentions is illegal. It is not illegal in Yemen law to have links with Al Houthi or support their cause. There have been no warrants for arrest, no trials. Some people have been in prison for up to five months.

Furthermore, Al Anis says there is no legal justification or indeed mention of the need for “good behavior guarantees” in the law. It is up to a judge to decide, once a case has been to court, to decide what constitutes “good behavior”. For example, it could mean that if a man is charged with beating his wife then “good behavior” would mean refraining from beating his wife. But it is only a judge, and not the Security Authorities, that have the right to demand such under-takings.