When further legislations intended to protect corruption [Archives:2008/1165/Opinion]

June 19 2008

By: Yasser Al-Arami
Nothing is worse than the kind of regimes and governments that enact their laws and legislations as temporary reactions to what they momentarily face without undertaking relevant studies in advance. And, the worst thing is devoting any enacted laws and legislations to encourage oppression and totalitarianism.

Unlike the Yemeni government, the kind of governments that respect their people resort to enacting temporary legislations having realized that certain things seem to threaten security and stability of their citizens, or harm their dignity and deny their rights to live in peace.

What a judicious citizen may not accept is seeing that the Yemeni government resorting to confront its citizens' demands by issuing further legislations and laws, thereby posing real threats to basic human rights and dignity. Even worse, the Yemeni government believes that enacting further legislations is the only workable solution to pressing problems and at the same time doesn't care about identify the real causes of these problems.

Many Yemeni governorates are experiencing escalating popular congestions and protests over worsening living standards, which protestors attribute to the government's failed policies. These protesters understand well that the authority lacks the workable solutions to pressing problems on the ground. They also understand that the authority escapes these problems by issuing further legislations via which it attempts to harbor and protect corrupt statesmen at the expense of citizens who have turned to pay the price for rampant corruption.

It is not strange for the authority to make legal amendments and issue dangerous legislations criminalizing peaceful struggle and protests, preventing people to voice their concerns and issues, and restricting the freedom of expression. This is the conduct of a failed government that only depends on confused and failed policies.

Seemingly, the recent draft law concerning protection of the national unity and social peace, which was approved by the majority of Parliament members in July last year, is not enough to protect unity and enhance national peace in the eye of the authority. As a result, various political activists, journalists and critics have become subjected to questioning, criminalization and punishment, which is why the opposition then described it as 'an unannounced emergency law'.

In one of its issues, the Al-Sahwa weekly published the cabinet's approval to amend the effective Criminal and Penal Law in a dangerous manner. This provides clear evidence that the authority wants to restrict public freedoms and crack down on peaceful protests under the cover of the law amid escalating popular rage and congestions as a result of dire situations nationwide.

The cabinet intended to amend the above-mentioned law under the pretext of what it said 'some crimes and actions were not contained in this law' and therefore the law must stipulate firm penalties to prevent such excluded crimes and harmful actions.

The cabinet further claimed that amending the law is intended to prevent crimes that may harm the national principles or instigate violence and vandalistic acts in the nation.

Legal amendments help bring justifications:

According to political observers, this legal amendment is meant to bring the kind of legal justifications for the authorities to prevent any peaceful protests and demonstrations, as well as crack down on protesters by all available means under the guise of placing the relevant law in effect.

In addition, the authority turned to slam active party leaders and journalists, accusing them of treason and being criminals. It imposed certain penalties on party activists and journalists under the pretext of protecting national principles. More than one time, the government gave the green light to security personnel to use force against any popular actions protesting against corruption and corrupt officials.

Other political observers and lawmakers hold the view that these legal amendments come as part of the government's oppressive procedures against peaceful actions. They described these procedures as 'a catastrophic seatback' on the government's part since they, according to them, violate human rights and public freedoms and never agree with the democratic experience, which is based on pluralism and peaceful transfer of power.

These observers and lawmakers emphasize that such legal amendments are made with the purpose of imposing new political penalties on activists.

The legal amendments in question coincided with massive arrest campaigns by security personnel against journalists and opinion writers. The cabinet never hesitated to violate a constitution it had enacted and put into force with the intention of maintaining corruption rampant in the various state's institutions and protecting corrupt officials who only care about illegal earning of wealth but never feel concerned about worsening situations nationwide.

Source: Al-Sahwa Weekly