Annual Report: Yemen 2010

May 28, 2010

Annual Report: Yemen 2010

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  • On 3 July, security forces were reported to have shot dead 'Ali Ahmed La'jam in his home in front of his family, even though he posed no threat. No independent investigation was known to have been carried out.

The authorities also carried out waves of arrests. Most of the detainees were quickly released, but some remained in prolonged detention. Among them were prisoners of conscience, including Salim 'Ali Bashawayh (see below). Others were charged and brought to trial before the SCC.

  • Qassim 'Askar Jubran, a former diplomat, and Fadi Ba'oom, a political activist, who were charged with endangering national unity by organizing protests and calling for the independence of the south, appeared before the SCC in Sana'a in June. Their trial was still in progress at the end of 2009.

Torture and other ill-treatment

There were new reports of torture and other illtreatment of detainees by police and prison guards. The most commonly cited methods were beatings on the body with sticks and rifle butts, kicking and punching, and suspension by the wrists and ankles. The purpose appeared to be to punish and to extract "confessions" from detainees that could be used against them in court.

  • Tens of detainees held in connection with protests in the south were reported to have been beaten and subjected to tear gas at al-Mukalla Central Prison in August after chanting demands in support of the independence of the south and for demanding their release. Seven who were seen as ringleaders, including Salim 'Ali Bashawayh, were suspended by their wrists and ankles for several hours, causing them severe pain. They had been arrested in May after a peaceful protest calling for the release of political prisoners.
  • Tawfiq Bassam Abu Thabit died in October while detained at the Political Security Prison in Sana'a. He had been wounded by shrapnel during armed clashes in Sa'da in 2008 and detained at a military checkpoint when his family were trying to take him for medical treatment. The authorities gave no reason for his death, which was possibly the result of medical neglect or illtreatment. No investigation was known to have been conducted.

In November, Yemen's application of the UN Convention against Torture was considered by the Committee Against Torture; the Committee urged the government to take immediate measures to eradicate torture.

Cruel, inhuman and degrading punishments

Flogging continued to be used as punishment for alcohol and sexual offences.

Counter-terror and security

In addition to trials connected to the conflict in Sa'da and protests in the south, at least 24 people were tried by the SCC for alleged links to al-Qa'ida, including eight who were sentenced to prison terms of up to seven years after being convicted of planning terrorist acts. Sixteen others, referred to as the Tarim Cell or the Brigades of the Soldiers of Yemen, were convicted by the SCC in July of carrying out acts of terrorism in 2007 and 2008; six were sentenced to death and the other 10 were sentenced to prison terms of up to 15 years.