Annual Report: Yemen 2013

Report
May 30, 2013

Annual Report: Yemen 2013

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  • In June, three men apparently connected with local authorities were sentenced to death in their absence in connection with a grenade attack on 17 February 2011 that killed one protester and wounded 15 others in Freedom Square, Ta'izz.
  • Charges were brought against 79 men in connection with the killing of dozens of protesters on 18 March 2011 in Sana'a. In June, the Attorney General said only 14 of the accused were in custody; others had been released on bail or were still at large. The trial before the Specialized Criminal Court was suspended while the judge sought clarification from the Supreme Court regarding the immunity law and amid questions over whether the real perpetrators were among those charged.
  • An official investigation which opened in 2011 into the killing of protesters in Freedom Square in Ta'izz on 29 May 2011 appeared to make no progress in 2012.

An administrative court ruled in November that the authorities were obliged to provide medical treatment to people injured in the 2011 protests or send them for treatment abroad, in line with a presidential decree issued in late 2011.

Repression of dissent – protests in southern Yemen

Security forces and pro-government supporters continued to use excessive, including lethal, force against protesters in Aden and other southern cities, killing at least a dozen people and wounding many others. They also arrested and briefly detained scores of people, mostly supporters of the Southern Movement, which advocates the secession of the South.

  • On 7 July, Central Security forces in armoured vehicles supported by snipers fired on a peaceful demonstration in Aden, killing four people and injuring 18. Security forces in three armoured vehicles opened fire as protesters reached a roundabout. Snipers then shot at fleeing protesters.
  • Student Abdul Raouf Hassan Zain al-Saqqaf, a Southern Movement activist, was detained with four others by security forces in Aden on 10 August. They were taken to a police station and beaten with rifle butts and a stick. The four others were released, but Abdul Raouf al-Saqqaf was transferred to the Central Prison in al-Mansura, where he was again beaten and held in solitary confinement in a tiny cockroach-infested cell without light or fresh air. He was released on 13 August, but was threatened with re-arrest. In November he was severely beaten by unidentified men apparently connected to the Islah party and later shot and wounded when masked gunmen attempted to abduct him.

Security forces raided hospitals to arrest injured protesters. Médecins Sans Frontières closed their hospital in Aden in October following repeated raids during which their staff were threatened by security forces.

  • On 27 September, two security guards employed by Médecins Sans Frontières were reported to have been beaten and threatened at gunpoint by unidentified men in Aden.

Armed conflict in Abyan

Ansar al-Shari'a continued to commit gross human rights abuses in the city of Ja'ar, Abyan governorate, which it took control of in February 2011, as well as in other cities in Shabwa governorate which it subsequently controlled. The armed group summarily executed and imposed cruel, inhuman and degrading punishments, including hand amputations, on those they accused of “crimes”, and attempted to enforce discriminatory and repressive social and religious requirements using violence and threats of violence. They also abducted and harassed community activists.