Tragedy of an honest judge doubled [Archives:2006/910/Viewpoint]

January 9 2006

Almost exactly one month ago, I wrote in issue number 899 about an honest Yemeni judge and his struggle to remain sincere. At that time, I did not mention his name due to this country's circumstances. Fearing for his safety, his identity remained anonymous, but his story had to be told.

On January 2, 10 angry armed men attacked the home of Judge Sahl Mohammed Hamza and threatened to kill him. “Come out so we can smash your head!” the armed men shouted, surrounding the house. Luckily, he was not alone. He was doing some paperwork with two judiciary police officers who came to his rescue.

The tragedy of this is that the attackers' identities are known. Their names were given to authorities and the judge has demanded protection. How could it have reached this far, to the point of attacking a supreme judge in broad daylight and threatening to kill him in front of others? This is only an example of the extent chaos controls this country's security. The power of tribes and armed men has exceeded the power of law. It is sad that such a good person was treated this way. Not only is he the exception, he literally could be eliminated at any minute, causing last hopes to whither away.

The only thing we can do is pray for Judge Hamza's safety and hope authorities prosecute the attackers and impose the law. We also hope this incident will not discourage him from continuing his splendid work as before. It is a difficult life; the thing Yemen now needs most is more people like Judge Hamza, not fewer.