Sit-in activists demand investigating Al-Shuaibi abuses [Archives:2006/1010/Front Page]

December 25 2006

SANA'A, Dec. 23 ) Numerous political and human rights activists staged a two-day sit-in late last week in front of the Capital Secretariat's Prosecution, protesting abuses against a Yemeni woman while she was detained at a capital security detainment.

Leading the protests, the Civil Society Coalition declared in a statement that Anisah Al-Shuaibi and her two sons were subject to torture and suppression, including physical and psychological abuse and rape.

The coalition demanded Capital Investigations Office Chairman, Brig. Rizk Al-Jawfi, be investigated regarding the case, noting his refusal more than once to stand before prosecution.

It called upon all activists and human rights organizations both inside and outside Yemen, together with the press, to stand up against such abuses occurring in Yemeni prisons, particularly in women's prisons.

Khalid Al-Ansi, a human rights activist and secretary-general of the National Organization for Defending Rights and Freedoms, known as HOOD, said prosecution has been investigating Al-Shuaibi's case since before September's elections. The attorney general requested Al-Jawfi for investigation; however, Al-Jawfi made various excuses, such as his engagement in the elections and combating terrorism.

Though he was informed of the time and location of the investigation, Al-Jawfi hasn't yet stood before prosecution. Thus, human rights activists and organizations were forced to stage a peaceful sit-in until those responsible for abusing Al-Shuaibi's human and constitutional rights stand trial, as such incidents are considered illegal and constitutional crimes for which severe punishment should be inflicted, especially when committed by state officials.

“We demonstrate because the Capital Investigations chairman, being an influential official, has refused to be investigated, although he should have attended such investigations immediately,” Al-Ansi explained.

“Remaining in his post will affect the results of the case because it involves investigating a number of his employees. In such cases, it's presumed that he should be suspended until the investigation has ended,” he added.

Details of Al-Shuaibi's detention were published last week in a meeting with Al-Nas newspaper, wherein she revealed that she was jailed Nov. 6, 2003 on false charges of kidnapping and killing her ex-husband. The Capital Southeast Appeals Court acquitted her Jan. 17, 2004, after her case was proven baseless because her ex-husband is alive.

She also recounted that she was subjected to physical torture and rape and further, that her children were tortured psychologically.

A Ministry of Interior official who declined to give his name said Al-Shuaibi's case has been politicized to avenge Al-Jawfi, who caused the Islah Party to receive few seats in Sana'a University's Student Union elections.

According to the same source, it then was alleged that security was responsible for kidnapping Jamil Sha'af, but such story was fabricated to make students sympathize with Sha'af and elect him student union head.

“Al-Shuaibi's case is old, dating back to 2003. If not political, why was it brought up again?” the source added, recounting, “Her 80-year-old aunt falsely accused her of kidnapping and killing her ex-husband. However, it soon became clear that [Al-Shuaibi] was innocent, so she was released and her aunt was jailed, but later freed when it became evident that she's senile.”