Three weeks and he is still in prisonTortured teenager’s case still unsolved [Archives:2008/1158/Local News]

May 26 2008

Saddam Al-Ashmori
For The Yemen Times

SANA'A, May 24 ) Although prosecution ordered investigating the alleged beating of a 13-year-old boy jailed at a Sana'a police station three weeks ago, the case still hasn't been resolved due to the illness of the investigator.

Security personnel seized Muneef Yahya Obad Al-Khawlani on May 3 while he was at his neighborhood market, subsequently jailing him at Al-Qalfan Police Station allegedly for stealing a car battery and some electric tools from homes.

In an exclusive interview from behind bars, Al-Khawlani said police tied his mouth tightly in their car before taking him to Al-Qalfan Police Station, where the station head and his escorts beat the youth's back and the bottom of his feet with wires to force a confession from him.

General Prosecution ordered the investigation of his case after The Yemen Times published the story in its issue No. 1153, wherein he maintained that security personnel had abused him.

“However, the boy still is behind bars due to sickness of the prosecution, who was supposed to question the police officers,” his lawyer Abdulrahman Barman said.

“Muneef now has been transferred to Alia'a Prison,” Barman noted.

“We've collected evidence, including witnesses inside the jail, who confirm Muneef's claims of forced confession,” Barman said, adding that because Al-Khawlani's arrest wasn't based on any evidence, security personnel resorted to using force to obtain a confession.

The youth's father, Yahya Obad Al-Khawlani, who appealed to President Ali Abdullah Saleh to intervene in releasing his son, said Muneef was arrested because of “personal issues” between himself and the head of the police station.

Under Yemeni law, individuals under age 15 aren't subject to arrest and shouldn't be imprisoned with adults. The law considers arresting children and jailing them at police stations a major crime, punishable for up to five years.

Yemen's Crimes and Punishment Law stipulates that, “Any employee who tortures others while performing his job, uses his power or threatens any individual under accusation shall be imprisoned for a period of not more than 10 years.”