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Yemen

    March 24, 2015

    The death this morning of at least eight peaceful protesters, shot by members of the Huthi-loyal Yemeni Central Security Forces in Ta’iz, illustrates a shocking disregard for human life as the country descends into chaos, said Amnesty International.

    Doctors working at two hospitals in the city of Ta’iz told Amnesty International that at least another 119 individuals were admitted with injuries inflicted by security forces since anti-Huthi protests began on Sunday. Most were treated for injuries related to tear gas inhalation and at least 38 had gunshot wounds.

    “Human rights in Yemen are in free-fall as even peaceful protest becomes a life-threatening activity,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Program.

    “The Huthi leadership must immediately rein in the security forces and armed men under its control and tell them that force must not be used against peaceful protesters. People should not be at risk of death or serious injury for merely voicing their opposition to the Huthi takeover of towns and cities.  

    March 20, 2015

    The suicide bombing of two mosques in Sanaa today, that killed dozens of people and wounded more than 100 others, must be investigated immediately and those responsible brought to justice, said Amnesty International.

    Images broadcast from the scene showed mosque carpets covered in shattered glass and injured people being carried out of the mosques as bodies lay in pools of blood nearby.

    “Attacking people while they are praying in a place of worship shows utter contempt for fundamental principles of humanity. There can be no justification for such attacks,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.

    “Those who ordered and planned these abominable crimes must be apprehended and brought to justice.”

    The attacks took place at the Badr mosque in southern Sanaa, and the al-Hashoosh mosque in a northern district of the capital just after noon prayers. Both are frequented mostly by Houthi supporters.  

    March 18, 2015

    The Yemeni authorities must set up a prompt, thorough, independent and impartial investigation into today’s despicable killing of leading journalist and activist Abdulkarim al-Khaiwani, Amnesty International said.

    According to media reports, unidentified gunmen on a motorbike shot Abdulkarim al-Khaiwani dead near his house in the centre of the capital Sana’a today. A former recipient of Amnesty International UK’s Special Award for Human Rights Journalism under Threat, he had been imprisoned several times and faced years of harassment under former President ‘Ali ‘Abdullah Saleh.

    “Given the history of intimidation and harassment Abdulkarim al-Khaiwani faced for his outspoken journalism and peaceful activism, his despicable killing today smacks of a politically motivated assassination,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Program.

    February 16, 2015

    New harrowing testimony collected by Amnesty International experts in Yemen reveal how members of the Huthi armed group are torturing protesters in a bid to dissuade dissent.

    “The Huthi stooped to a dangerous new level of intimidation and violence to strike fear into anyone protesting their rule,” said Donatella Rovera, Senior Crisis Response Adviser at Amnesty International, currently in Yemen.

    “Testimonies reveal how protestors have been detained and tortured for days on end. The safety of all those who dare to speak out against the Huthi rule is on the line.”

    Among those who spoke to Amnesty International are Ali Taher al-Faqih, 34, and ‘Abdeljalil al-Subari, 40, who were seized during a peaceful demonstration in Sana’a on 11 February (held to commemorate the 11 February 2011 uprising). The two men were arrested alongside Salah ‘Awdh al-Bashri, a 35-year-old father of seven, who later died from the injuries he suffered after hours of torture.

    December 15, 2014

    The Yemeni authorities must investigate the killing of a political activist shot dead by security forces during a peaceful protest in the southern city of Aden today, Amnesty International said.  

    Khaled Al-Junaidi, a leading activist in Yemen’s separatist Southern Movement, was leading a strike in the district of Crater when he was ordered out of his car by five masked security officers and shot in the chest.

    “This shocking, deliberate killing appears to be an extrajudicial execution prompted by Khaled Al-Junaidi’s peaceful activism promoting independence for southern Yemen,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Program.

    “The Yemeni authorities have an obligation under international law to ensure that an independent, impartial and prompt investigation into this killing is conducted, and that all those responsible are brought to justice, including anyone who ordered the killing.”

    September 09, 2014

    The killing by government security forces of at least six protesters in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, must be promptly and impartially investigated, said Amnesty International.

    “The gunning down of peaceful protesters in the streets of the capital has heightened fears that the current confrontation there will escalate into a full blown violent conflict,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.

    “It is crucial that the authorities respect the right to peaceful protests, refrain from using excessive force to disperse demonstrations, and ensure that anyone responsible for unlawful killings is brought to justice in fair trials.”  

    According to eyewitnesses, at least six people were shot and more than 50 were injured when army units guarding the cabinet building in Sana’a suddenly opened fire on a group of protesters approaching the building.

    One of the protestors described how Yemeni forces opened fire using machine guns and other weaponry:

    March 17, 2014

    Posted at 0001 GMT 18 March 2014

    Yemen’s authorities have manifestly failed to hold a thorough and independent investigation into the deaths of at least 50 peaceful demonstrators and bystanders killed in Sana’a during one of the bloodiest incidents of the 2011 uprising, said Amnesty International.

    On the third anniversary of the “Friday of Dignity” killings, the organization is calling for the creation of an internationally assisted, independent commission of inquiry to investigate this incident and all other human rights violations committed during 2011.

    “Three years have passed since the ‘Friday of Dignity’ killings and the Yemeni authorities have yet to carry out a credible investigation or deliver justice. Promises that an independent commission of inquiry would be set up by President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi remain unfulfilled,” said Philip Luther, director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

    December 13, 2013

    The confusion over who was responsible for an airstrike that killed 15 men on their way to a wedding in Yemen on Thursday exposes a serious lack of accountability for scores of civilian deaths in the country, Amnesty International said.

    Local security officials reportedly said the wedding convoy had been mistaken for al-Qa’ida operatives, but did not identify the type of aircraft used in the attack. Local media and tribal officials allege that a drone was used – if true, this would point to US involvement in the attack.

    “Even if it turns out that this was a case of killings based on mistaken identity or dodgy intelligence, whoever was responsible needs to own up to the error and come clean about what happened in this incident,” said Philip Luther, Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.

    The appalling lack of transparency over civilian deaths in Yemen means that when violations occur, the victims and their families have no effective access to redress or reparations. The utter lack of accountability for these killings must end.”

    November 29, 2013

    Yemen must ensure security forces refrain from using excessive force during protests planned this Saturday or risk further bloodshed, Amnesty International said.

    Protests are planned in the southern sea-port city of Aden on 30 November to mark the 46th anniversary of South Yemen’s independence from British occupation. Tensions in Yemen have escalated in recent years as large numbers of southerners continue to demand independence from the north.

    “Protests in Yemen have always been dangerous for activists, with police routinely shooting and killing peaceful demonstrators. However, given the disagreements over the future of the south of Yemen and the charged symbolism of the date, we are particularly worried about what could happen on Saturday.” said Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.

    September 16, 2013

    The Yemeni authorities must immediately commute a sentence of amputation imposed on a man convicted of theft and assault, said Amnesty International.

    The defendant received the “cross-amputation” sentence at Sana’a’s Specialized Criminal Court on Sunday 15 September. The sentence, which he can appeal, requires his right hand and left foot to be amputated.

    “Amputation is a cruel punishment that amounts to torture and accordingly is a crime under international law,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Director.

    “The Yemeni authorities must immediately take steps to abolish this brutal punishment.”

    Sunday’s sentence is the first reported cross-amputation sentence passed in Yemen in more than 10 years.

    The man was convicted of ambushing and assaulting a man as he transported cash in his car. Six other men also received prison sentences ranging from one to four years for banditry, theft and forming a criminal gang.

    July 24, 2013

    The Yemeni authorities must respond to allegations that an investigative journalist was ill-treated and arbitrarily imprisoned based on his work to reveal the US military’s role in a deadly 2009 attack, Amnesty International said following his release on Tuesday. 

    Abdul Ilah Haydar Shayi’ was finally set free following international pressure, but the Yemeni authorities have kept in place a two-year travel ban on the journalist.

    “Abdul Ilah Haydar Shayi’ appeared to be a prisoner of conscience, imprisoned solely for his legitimate work as a journalist. Having released him, the Yemeni authorities must now conduct an independent and impartial investigation into the 2009 attack which he helped expose,” said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Program Director at Amnesty International.

    “Both the Yemeni and US authorities have some serious questions to answer regarding this case. His allegations of ill-treatment must also be investigated.”

    February 21, 2013

    Yemeni security forces have acted in contravention of international human rights standards by opening fire on peaceful pro-secession protesters today in the south, resulting in four deaths and dozens of injured, said Amnesty International today.

    Security forces used firearms and tear gas killing two and injuring at least 25, as thousands of supporters of the Southern Movement, which demands peaceful secession from the rest of Yemen, gathered in a non-violent sit-in at Al-‘Aroudh Square in Khormaksar, Aden.

    “In utter disregard for international standards, the Yemeni authorities have attempted to quash peaceful protests with shocking use of lethal force. This is yet another bloody stain on the government’s bleak human rights record”, said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa

    In addition to the two killed in the protest, a man from al-Dhal’i was killed and another seriously injured as security forces opened fire to prevent them from entering Aden to join the demonstration.

    February 20, 2013

    The Yemeni authorities must end the routine violent repression of freedom of assembly by its security forces, Amnesty International said ahead of mass demonstrations planned tomorrow in the south of the country.

    Protest marches organized by the Southern Movement, which demands a peaceful secession from the rest of Yemen, are due to converge in the city of Aden on Thursday.

    The protest, which marks the first anniversary of the election of President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, comes 10 days after security forces opened fire at a similar peaceful demonstration in Aden, killing two.

    "The Southern Movement and its followers have a right to protest peacefully, and the Yemeni authorities must allow them this right," said Ann Harrison, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa program.

    "That means that security forces deployed to police these demonstrations must refrain from using excessive, lethal force against peaceful protesters, something they have failed to do in the recent past."

    February 06, 2013

    Military forces in the Yemeni capital Sana’a must not use unlawful force against dozens of injured protesters, Amnesty International said.

    Since Tuesday night, the military’s Fourth Armoured Brigade has blocked access into and out of an area outside the Council of Ministers office, where protesters have been engaged in a sit-in protest to demand adequate treatment for injuries sustained during demonstrations in 2011.

    Of the around 70 protesters taking part in the sit-in, more than half sustained injuries in 2011 and many have recently gone on hunger strike.

    They are demanding that the authorities comply with a November 2012 court ruling calling for them to be treated for a wide range of conditions including spinal cord injuries, and damage to nerves and muscles. At least two have been using wheelchairs as a result of their injuries.

    “The quickest way for the Yemeni authorities to resolve the situation is to comply with the court order. They must immediately provide reparations and ensure care for the injured,” said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Programme Director at Amnesty International.

    January 30, 2013

    Despair and hopelessness pervade in a Yemeni prison where scores of children are on hunger strike to protest at their conditions and about a fellow inmate's recent death sentence, activists have told Amnesty International.

    Since Sunday, 77 alleged juvenile offenders have refused to eat their prison meals at the central prison in the capital Sana'a until the authorities comply with a list of demands made in a handwritten signed statement.

    They launched the hunger strike in response to the sentencing to death of Nadim al-‘Azaazi on 26 January for a crime he is accused of committing when he was reportedly 15.

    “Executing juvenile offenders is expressly prohibited in Yemen's Penal Code and international human rights law – the Yemeni authorities must live up to their obligations and overturn this death sentence immediately,” said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Programme Director at Amnesty International.

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