(The Quest for the Truth): Text of the Statement of Late Al-Saqqaf’s Lawyer [Archives:1999/27/Law & Diplomacy]

July 5 1999
Continued from Page 1  
Rejection of the Presentation of the Case to Court Due to the Incomplete Investigation by the Prosecution 
Chairman of the Traffic Court, Judge, Abdul-Kader Al-Hitaree. 
On behalf of my constituents, the heirs of the late Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Saqqaf the late Editor-in-Chief of the Yemen Times and Chairman of the Human Rights Committee in the Consultative Council, who was fatally hit by a car on June 2 1999. We hereby present this plea hoping that it will be fully and carefully examined and that you will accept our request to have the case referred back to the Prosecution in order to conduct a more thorough investigation so that all the underlying mystery of this case will be exposed. 
The reasons for this plea are the following: 
I- It is clear that the President of the Republic, Ali Abdullah Saleh, has designated an Investigation Committee chaired by the Minister of the Interior to consider the impact of this accident on the Yemeni community and to make sure whether or not the accident was intentional; in view of the as the victim was involved in defending human rights. Unfortunately, our constituents were not able to check the results of the investigation made by this committee. Moreover, the Traffic Prosecution started interrogating the alleged driver, who fatally hit Dr. Al-Saqqaf and the witnesses he presented. After a few days from the date of the accident, the Prosecution presented the case to the Court without hearing the call of the heirs of the Deceased for their rights and before even getting any order from the court. The whole investigation report did not exceed six pages. This is in violation of Article 123 of the Criminal Law, which provides that the Prosecution must take down the plaintiff’s charges and that the victim’s or his heirs has the right to attend all the proceedings of the investigations. If they were not present, they have entitled to check what has been done as soon as the investigations are completed. 
II- By not hearing the victim’s family, which is considered to be the most important procedure, the Traffic Prosecution has violated Article 18 of the Criminal Law, which provides that the Prosecution, the Court and the Appeals Court are obligated to ascertain all the elements of the case, its reasons, its circumstances and the character of the accused. The Traffic Prosecution did not give the victim’s family a chance to make sure about the truth, by not listening to them and to their request, during the investigation, to listen to the witnesses, who should be brought only upon the request of the victim’s family as confirmed by the by the law. All this is in violation of Article 125 of the Criminal Law which provides that the litigants have the right to produce whatever requests they want, which must be written down by the investigating prosecution. This is further stressed in Article 165 which indicates that the investigator should listen to the witnesses , summoned by him, the plaintiff and the defendants, or who came all by themselves to testify. 
The prosecution sufficed only in hearing the testimony of the defendants witnesses in the case, and thus could not be said to have arrived to a full gathering of the circumstances surrounding the case. This leads to raising a number of questions, summarized as follows: 
1. Why did not those who were accompanying Dr. Al-Saqqaf at the scene of the accident, namely, Dr. Abu Bakr Al-Qirby and Mohammed Al-Tayyib hospitalize the victim, and why were they not called to testify. The same is also true of the other witnesses at the scene of the accident, an American and 2 Canadians, whose names were not even put down or whose eyewitness accounts were not taken. 
2. What explanation is there for not finding any evidence that the breaks were not used by the driver of the car that perpetrated the accident, and could that have been the negligence of the driver to avoid the accident or his inability to do so or other reasons. The classifications to these questions from a technical point of view is warranted from a specialist in a complete report on the accident is supposed to have been made available, which should have included the conditions of the car and its tires. 
3. Where did the watch of the defendant go, which disappeared at the time of the accident, which was a gold Omegas watch, assessed at over YR 1 Million, and who took it? 
4. How did the defendant state that he was unable to see the victim, as he claimed that the trees prevented from viewing the victim, whereas as the shrubs were at a height that did not exceed the midsection of the body. 
5. What is the justification of the driver being at the site of the accident at that particular time of the day, so far away from his domicile. 
6. Were any blood tests taken of the defendant to checked if he was under the influence of drugs or intoxicants at the time of the accident? If not, why? 
7. Was any check made on the background, conduct and record of the defendant, especially in a case like this, which raised a number of questions, and thus need to be looked into. 
8. Why was not the victim taken to the nearest medical institute, which is the Police Hospital nearby. Why was he left an 1 1/2 prior to his arrival to Al-Thoura Hospital? 
9. Why did the car owned by theta victim disappear from where the victim had left it parked. It was more than an hour later that the son of the victim was asked to pick up the car form Colonel Al-Moushiky, from the intersection of the 60-Meter Road rather than from the Police Precinct, or why was it not taken to the Yemen Times premises, which is well-known. 
10. What are the results of the search of the defendant’s car, and what was found in that search. 
11. Why was there no wait for the testimony of the witnesses, especially Information Officer of the National Democratic Institute and the Resident Representative of NDI, Mr. Derek Butler, who were there. Why were not the blood heirs of the victim called to hear their testimony? Why was the case presented to Court prior to the completion of the investigation in a thorough manner? 
12. How was the speed of the hitting car estimated to be 50 kmph, while it had catapulted the victim more than 8 meters in the air, and there were obvious big dents, broken glass and lights. Yet the Traffic Police concluded that this damage was the result of a 50 kmph speed. 
13. Why was not the father of the defendant called at the time, being as he is the responsible person of the accident, as the defendant was not holding any driver’s license. 
III. We have previously requested the Police Prosecution to complete the Prosecution., in keeping with Article 223 of the Criminal Law, and it did not respond to our request,. Whereas the legislators have authorized us in Article 20 the right to object to their decision to present the case to you, we therefore appeal to you, anticipating that you will uphold the rights of our clients to deal with the case of their father, in accordance with the law, as is the right of all citizens, who should all be entitled to equal justice before the law. 
Our desire is that our clients obtain their legitimate and humanitarian rights to reveal all the facts and truths surrounding the killing of their father, which can not be ascertained through the trial, as they cannot concede to a trial hearing prior to having their rights under the investigations still unfulfilled. Before compelling them to take a refusal stand based on hearsay, or to raise charges of the methods by which the case was presented, which is what we altogether do not wish to happen. 
We implore Your Honor to act in keeping with the Law to rule that the referral of the case to the court is not proper, and must be corrected by returning the case to the Prosecution for further fulfillment of the investigation, which will enable our clients to obtain their full rights of a thorough investigation of the case to arrive to the full truth of the case, and to have the case, then take its proper just course, based on the Law and the Islamic jurisprudence. 
With all due respects. 
Mohammed Naji Allaw 
Ismael Abdullah Al-Madani 
Lawyers acting on behalf of the heirs of Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Saqqaf.