SILVER LININGAl-Rawee & the victimized rule of law [Archives:2007/1098/Opinion]

October 25 2007

Mohammed Al-Qadhi
Salal al-Rawee was slaughtered like a goat at the hands of savage tribesmen at the criminal investigation office in Ibb Oct. 13. The irony is that the perpetrators are the head of the criminal investigation office at Thamar governorate, the security officer of Thamar University and a professor at the same university accompanied with a group of armed tribesmen. Exploiting their security positions, they managed to go through with their guns all security checkpoints stationed along the way from Thamar to Ibb governorate. They went into the criminal investigations office and asked for the defendant Salah al-Rawee. They camouflaged the security men at the office and when Salah was brought from his cell, they stabbed him with their Jambias or daggers and then shot him dead. Some managed to escape and go back dancing after this great victory, while others were arrested. Not only this, the tribesmen descending from al-Hadda in Thamar invaded the city of Ibb again and destroyed the small house of al-Rawee and continued threatening to kidnap his son. They also protested to demand the release of the murderers.

The 45-year old al-Rawee bought a piece of land from the endowment office in Ibb several years ago. An influential colonel from al-Hadda tried several ways to manipulate the man to get that piece of land, but no way. Al-Rawee stuck to his right to own that piece of land. Due to lack of money to construct a house on it, he preferred to grow it. The uncontrolled colonel continued harassing the man and his family to the extent of beating of his wife, according to her speech to al-Nidaa weekly last week. He was put in jail for several months. However, he came out like a hero despite his pale appearance and frustration with a corrupt real estate system that transferred the ownership of the land to the colonel. He decided to build a small room to uphold his ownership of the land. He lived in the small room with his family. And while the government was celebrating the 44 anniversary of the 14 October Revolution marking the end of injustice, the colonel was leading a group of armed men to pound the small room of al-Rawee at night. He resisted and they fired their guns to shoot him but, to his wife's story, they missed their target and instead shot their colonel instead. Al-Rawee informed the police and surrendered to the criminal investigations police that did not protect his life. He was given to his opponents to simply kill and then celebrate outside the police station their victory over the state, or, so to speak, celebrate killing the state and the rule of law.

The perpetrators who are supposed to be the protectors and implementers of law and order behaved like a criminal gang and their tribal sentiments were stronger than their loyalty to the state and its regulations. This shows the situation of law in our country. Nobody is ready to respect even if they are working as its actors. The murder of al-Rawee is truly heinous crime that should bring hell loose. He is the victim of the deflowered law and order, of the absence of justice and the prevalence of the jungle law where influential figures are ready to devour the poor people who have no tribal backup. Yes, the tribal system has been acting against any efforts to establish a state ruled by law and order. The parliament discussed the case and decided to set a fact-finding mission. As usual, the tribal heads have started acting to settle down accounts through tribal norms. The government, of course, bows to the tribal norms and in this way, the rights of the people get lost. Such submission to the rule of the tribe will continue to cripple any attempts to build a state of law.

Mohammed Al-Qadhi ([email protected]) is a Yemeni journalist and columnist.