You want to know more? Ask uncle Ali [Archives:2007/1083/Local News]

September 6 2007

By: Nisreen Shadad
For over a month Nisreen Shadad has been following the case of an illegal arrest of some forty detainees in Hajja, three of whom are 15 years old. The detainees have been arrested on suspicion of having links with Al-Houthi insurgent in Sa'ada. As to why they are kept in prison without evidence, head of the political security cynically told Nisreen to ask the president.

HAJJA, Sep. 5 ) Thus far, there have been two official orders to release the 40 detainees of Hajja, accused of terrorist conspiracy, and give them a fair trial. In spite of this, there has been no action. The first order issued by the general prosecutor in Sana'a, Abdullah Al-Ulufi on August 13, as an endorsement to this, governor of Hajja, Abdullah Al-Harazi, ordered the release of the detainees on August 25 a few days before he was transferred to Al-Mahra governorate.

Fifteen of these detainees have gone on a hunger strike starting Tuesday Sept. 4. The 40 detainees have been imprisoned for up to five months on grounds that they are potential terrorist who may do harm in the future.

The excuse for not following up on the instructions of the highest authority in the governorate is that the detainees did not produce a guarantee for good behavior stating they would not indulge in any anti-government act in the future. Adel Farhan, the general trustee of the local council and the vice-president of the security committee, said, “There are orders to release the detainees, however they are but ink on papers.”

Yemen Times tried to phone up the general prosecutor for more information about his orders to release the innocent detainees and provide give a trial for the accused, but Abdullah Al-Ulufi, hung up.

Somebody is lying:

Seven of these detainees have already produced the document (see image on right). However, they are still in prison. Saleh Sukhaib head of the political security in Hajja – the apparatus responsible for political and terrorist criminals – criticized the documents the 7 detainees produced as not in the “exact format we need”.

In fact, chairperson of the local council Ahmed Haidar explained to Yemen Times that the document is fake, despite of the fact that his college and deputy Adel Farhan confirmed that they both signed it and endorsed it.

Relatives of the seven detainees including three children aged 15 years old, said they had been running around from one authority to the other in order to get their loved ones released.

Ali Wazzan, a high level police officer, confirmed that the head of the security asked them to bring a guarantee from sheiks. When they gave them, they asked for a commercial guarantee as the first one is not acceptable. Lastly they said they don't have orders to release the seven detainees.

Ahmad Arman, the executive secretary of HOOD organizations for defending rights and freedoms said, “The role of the court (judge) is still weak in Yemen, therefore orders couldn't be carried out. While in theory, the court has the absolute power to arrest as well as to release people, in reality the political security is in full control.”

Wazzan said that he is sure that the seven detainees' represented by HOOD are innocence. They were studying the Zaidi curricula with Majd Al-Din Al-Muayadi in Sa'ada. When the war in Sa'ada has started they came back to Hajja.

After several days, they were phoned by Farhan and asked to come to the security office. They immediately went and then they put in the prison.

Al-Muayadi, according to Wazzan, is a well known Zaidi scholar. He is teaching many students in Sa'ada Zaidi schools. Al-Houthi was one of al-Muayadi's students. Al-Muayadi disagreed with Al-Houthi's behaviors and thoughts because he was extreme.

“Al-Muayadi's teaching is moderate and here in Yemen, Zaidists don't feel that they are different than Sunnis. We pray and fast together. The difference between Zaidism and Sunnis is in fatwas (legitimate orders), however we agreed in the basis (the creed), said Wazzan.

There are many students attended Al-Muayadi's teachings, but not all them are Houthists. “Al-Muayadi was not arrested as he is known as a moderate.

“What leads the government to fight this particular group (Houthists) is because they have clashes with police men and they killed some of them,” Wazzan said. “There are numerous sects here in Yemen, freely practicing their belief, but once their thoughts become extreme putting Yemen stability in danger, Yemeni government has to take a stand”, he added.

Due to Wazzan's sympathy with the innocent detainees, he is accused now of having a link with Al-Houthi.

Yemen Times attempted to get more information from Sukhaib, chief of the political security, about the detainees; however he said he has no more to say, “If you need more information, you could ask Uncle Ali”, referring to the president.