Seeking justice [Archives:2006/1009/Reportage]

December 21 2006
The ownership document (number 329,342) goes back to 1943 issued by the British Colony of Aden
The ownership document (number 329,342) goes back to 1943 issued by the British Colony of Aden
By: Yemen Times Staff
Not only is her land unjustly confiscated and her guard brutally beaten by the people supposed to protect the law. The attorney general in Aden has turned the tables around imposing grand theft charges and made her a fugitive fleeing from arrest. “He did not respect my old age and authentic documents proving my right to the property. He insulted me, threw my British passport in my face and said it is time to bring me in handcuffed,” said Arwa Al-Hamdani, a Yemeni-British woman who is struggling to find justice in this messed up legal system.

The story starts with a land about one and a half square kilometers in Shiekh Othman, Aden governorate. The ownership document (number 329,342) goes back to 1943 issued by the British Colony of Aden at that time. It was then endorsed in 2006 and given a Republic of Yemen reference. Al-Hamdani decided to make use of her land and put up a fence around it and she made sure governor and district security were informed of her intention and in agreement. Just when the workers she hired to do the construction were about to fix the gate, a gang lead by a man known as Al-Yafi'ei invaded the land, beat the guard badly and placed large containers in the land which the gang claimed theirs. The guard testified that Al-Yafi'ei broke into the land with the assistance of a man from the general attorney named Mansour Mahboob.

“We went to the police station to report the attack, our guard, who was visibly injured, was with us and we had eye witnesses. The police officers went to the scene and confirmed what happened. They took one of the invaders to custody and was released at a later stage without any action to stop the invaders. In fact, we learnt that the report never left the police station and the case somehow was frozen then and there,” Mohammad Al-Hamdani Arwa's son complained.

Arwa hired lawyers and pursued the case, she went to the police station, the general attorney in Aden endless times, until she was worn out and became ill. Eventually she was faced with a compulsory arresting order against her and security was sent to her accommodation in order to drag her to prison on charges of grand theft.

Presenting her case again before the general attorney and endorsing her ownership to the land with authentic documents did note get Al-Hamdani anywhere. The police report on the attack against Al-Hamdani's land and guard clearly confirms her side of the story and that there was nothing in the land before she started working on the fence. Aden Governor Al-Kuhlani and head of the district security confirmed that the land was empty and the contractor and construction engineer were willing to go to court to testify to the same. Al-Hamdani sought the governor who issued a decree endorsing her case. However, the general attorney refused to acknowledge any authority or any reasonable intervention in this case. Al-Hamdani, being a British citizen as well, raised her case in U.K. and was supported by the House of Commons who issued a letter regarding this matter to the Yemeni embassy in the U.K. Who in turn forwarded a letter to the minister of foreign affairs and urged him to take a close look at the matter.

“It is amazing how everyone clearly sees that I am right except for Qahir Mustafa, general attorney in Aden. How dare he ignore all that, and insult me as a person and a seeker of justice?”

“The president should see to it that people working in the legal and security system are doing their jobs honestly. Corruption is eating up the structure of this nation and he is this nation's leader whom we elected to lead us to justice and stability.”

With this, Arwa Al-Hamdani ended her case.

The Yemen Times have copies of all relevant documents if anyone wishes to verify the case. It is a shame how the judiciary system in Yemen has become bound to the moods of people, without real accountability.