Document - Yemen: Further information: Southern movement leader detained: Hassan Ba’oom

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Further information on UA: 247/10 Index: MDE 31/005/2011 Yemen Date: 22 February 2011


URGENT ACTION

SOUTHERN MOVEMENT LEADER detained

Hassan Ba’oom, a leader of a political opposition group in southern Yemen, has been held incommunicado detention since 20 February. Amnesty International fears for his health and is concerned that he may be held solely for the peaceful expression of his right to freedom of expression and therefore be a prisoner of conscience.

Hassan Ba’oom, who is in his seventies, was arrested by security forces at a hospital in Aden on 20 February. He was receiving treatment for a broken leg. He is a leader of the opposition coalition Southern Movement and chairman of a faction called the Supreme National Council for the Liberation of the South. According to press reports, he had recently called for a “day of rage” to be held in southern provinces against the Yemeni government.

After his arrest, he is believed to have been taken to a military hospital in Aden and subsequently to have been transferred to the Central Prison in Sana’a. He is reported to be held incommunicado. Hassan Ba’oom is reported to suffer from hypertension, heart disease and diabetes; it is not known whether he is receiving medical treatment.

Hassan Ba’oom was released in early January following around two months of detention. He had been arrested by security force members on 9 November 2010 while he was in a car on his way from Aden to al-Dali’, both cities in southern Yemen. He was held incommunicado for some of the time. Prior to this he was detained for two months in 2007 and six months in 2008 in connection with protests by retired soldiers from the south of Yemen against alleged discrimination in employment, salaries and pensions.

Protests have been taking place in Aden and other places in southern Yemen since 2007 against perceived discrimination by the government against southerners and, increasingly, in favour of the secession of the south of the country. However, following demonstrations in the capital Sana’a and other cities in recent weeks calling for the president to stand down, protesters in Aden have also started to call for regime change.

PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in Arabic, English or your own language:

  • Calling on the authorities to provide Hassan Ba’oom with all necessary medical treatment without delay;

  • Urging the authorities to ensure that Hassan Ba’oom is protected from torture and other ill-treatment, and is allowed prompt and regular access to a lawyer of his choosing and his family;

  • Noting that if he is held solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression and assembly, Amnesty International would consider him a prisoner of conscience and call for his immediate and unconditional release;

  • Asking for details of any charges he faces to be made public and calling on the authorities to ensure that any legal proceedings against him conform to international fair trial standards.


PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 5 APRIL 2011 TO:

President

His Excellency Ali Abdullah Saleh

Office of the President of the Republic of Yemen

Sana’a

Republic of Yemen

Fax: +967 1 274 147

Salutation: Your Excellency




Minister of Interior

His Excellency Mutaher Rashad al-Masri

Ministry of Interior

Sana’a, Republic of Yemen

Fax: +967 1 332 511 /

+967 1 331 899

Email: moi@yemen.net.ye

Salutation: Your Excellency



And copies to:

Minister of Human Rights

Her Excellency Dr Huda Ali Abdullatef Alban

Ministry for Human Rights

Sana’a, Republic of Yemen

Fax: +967 1 444 838 /

+967 1 419 555 / +967 1 419 700 (please keep trying)

Email: mshr@y.net.ye

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date. This is the first update of UA 247/10. Further information: http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE31/014/2010

URGENT ACTION

SOUTHERN MOVEMENT LEADER detained

ADditional Information

Protests in the south of Yemen that have been taking place sporadically since 2007 began with protests by retired soldiers from the south, who have increasingly been complaining that they do not receive the same treatment in employment, salary and pensions as soldiers from the north of the country. Most of the retired soldiers are from the army of the former People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY), commonly known as South Yemen. Following the unification of the country in 1990, the armies of both the PDRY and the Yemen Arab Republic (YAR), commonly known as North Yemen, were merged into a single army for the new Republic of Yemen. However, after the civil war in 1994, which ended in the defeat of the South, many of the soldiers of the former PDRY were dismissed from the army. They, as well as those who remained in the current unified army, allege that they are subject to discrimination compared to soldiers originally from the army of the YAR. The Southern Movement is an umbrella movement of political groups, some of which want the south of the country to secede. It appears to have emerged following these protests as well as being sparked by the general discrimination that the people in the south believe they face. The government believes that the entire Southern Movement is calling for the independence of the southern part of the country.

The Southern Movement has organized a number of protests over what it perceives to be the government’s failure to address discrimination against people from the south of the country. The government’s response to these protests has been heavy-handed. Dozens of demonstrators have been killed in or near demonstrations; in many cases they appear to have been shot dead unlawfully when were posing no risk to the lives of the security forces or others. Since the protests began in 2007, the security forces have arrested and detained, in many cases arbitrarily, thousands of demonstrators and bystanders, as well as leaders and activists of the Southern Movement.

Since February 2011 and following calls for the president to stand down, protesters in Aden in particular have started calling for regime change and for the president to stand down. Protests calling for the south to separate from the rest of the country also continue to take place in Aden and other parts of south Yemen.

Freedom of expression is guaranteed by Yemen’s Constitution. However, this right is undermined by restrictive laws and practices, particularly the 1990 Press and Publications Law, and by the Specialized Press and Publications Court set up in May 2009.The court appears to be aimed at suppressing dissent by fast-tracking cases brought against government critics.


FU UA: 247/10 Index: MDE 31/005/2011 Issue Date: 22 February 2011

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