Seven political prisoners in Hajjah released [Archives:2008/1133/Local News]

February 28 2008

By: Nisreen Shadad
For the Yemen Times

HAJJAH, 23 Feb. ) Seven detainees were released earlier this month from the Al-Miftah district in Hajjah governorate. The young men – some in still in their early teens – were originally arrested on suspicion of having links to Al-Houthi insurgents in Sa'ada.

Three of the seven former detainees are 15 years old. The other four are adults between the ages of 23 and 29. The condition of their release was a guarantee of good behavior, specifically promising not to engage in future terrorist acts relating to Al-Houthi.

The general trustee of the local council and vice-president of the security committee, Adel Farhan, is the main figure who worked to release the detainees, along with the assistance of their families and NGOs.

“There were numerous official orders for the prisoners' release from the general prosecutor and the former governor presented to the head of the political security in Hajjah, but they were not accepted,” said Farhan.

Brigadier general Ali Muhsin Al-Ahmar issued an order on November 28, 2007, but political security director Ahmed Ali Masoud said he could not accept the order under the pretense that he takes orders from the interior minister only.

More than once, Farhan went to Al-Ahmar to tell him that the orders were not accepted. Al-Ahmar contacted the Minister of Interior, Rashad al-Alimi. Then other orders were issued by Minister of the Interior on December 2, 2007 and by the new governor of Hajjah, Farid Mujawar, on December 6, 2007.

Al-Ahmar once again commanded that the prison release the seven detainees, as there was no evidence against them.

Then Al-Alimi ordered the Ghalib al-Qamish, the Central Organ for Political Security, to speak to Masoud about the detainees' release conditions and the demanded guarantee to not collaborate with Al-Houthi.

“They were released on February 6, 2008 because the director of political security procrastinated because of individual interests,” said Farhan.

Masoud said he was appointed recently, so he had no idea about any aspect of the case – neither the detainees nor the demanded guarantee.

Masoud was appointed on November 20, 2007, so all the guarantees would have been presented to him, and he is the one who declined to accept them, Farhan assured.

“We are but an executive committee in charge of carrying out official orders either from the judicial authority or from our leaders. We are in harmony with our leaders; we immediately carry out whatever orders are directed to us,” said Masoud.

Farhan and Parliament member Muhammed Qawara wrote guarantees on behalf of the seven detainees because they were sure of their innocence.

“After guaranteeing them