US report criticizes human rights in Yemen [Archives:2008/1142/Local News]

March 31 2008

SANAA, March 30 ) The US State Department has criticized the status of human rights in Yemen in its report for 2007, released on March 11. Entitled “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices”, the annual report highlights human rights violations that ranged from arbitrary arrests, to killing civilians, and curbing freedoms and rights.

“There were reports that the government committed arbitrary or unlawful killings during the year. There were no known politically motivated killings by the government or its agents; however, security forces reportedly killed or injured suspects during arrests and public demonstrations, actions that appear to have been politically motivated,” the report said.

Unlike the previous year, there were killings by security forces during demonstrations. During protests between August and September in the southern governorates, security forces killed at least seven persons and arrested and injured hundreds, the report added.

Yemen has witnessed several protests nationwide against price hikes, illegal government practices towards retired soldiers, and bad living standards.

The country, according to local observers, has been going through such circumstances since the end of the 2006 presidential and local council elections.

According to the US report, other incidents of fatal shootings and violence continued throughout the year, and security forces reportedly beat detainees and prisoners. The report cited the example of Azim Hasan Al-Wosabi, a citizen who was beaten while arrested for stealing on May 14.

Additionally, the report noted that Yemeni law prohibits such practices, but according to human rights nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and former detainees, authorities tortured and abused persons in detention.

“During the year, the Political Security Office (PSO), a security agency reporting to the president, denied that torture occurred at their facilities and noted that PSO officers when entering service must sign an internal document that certifies that they recognize that torture is illegal according to the laws and constitution of the country and that those who torture prisoners will be punished according to the law,” it said, adding the government severely limited access to PSO prisons by independent human rights observers.

For the whole report on Yemen, please visit: