A good interview by Jane Novak on the state of Yemeni prisons. It really puts into perspective the complaints of al Moayad about not being able to play sports and read the magazines he wants. Maybe the Director of HOOD should be spending more of his time defending the “Rights and Freedoms” of Yemenis at home. After reading this, I don’t know how anyone can read old man moayad’s grievances without laughing.
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Yemeni MP Ahmed Said Hashed – “There Are No Human Rights In Yemen”
Jane Novak – 11/14/2007
Mr. Ahmed Saif Hashed serves on the Yemeni Parliament’s Freedom and Human Rights Committee. An independent MP, Mr. Hashed represents constituency 70, which includes parts of Lahj and Taiz. Mr. Hashed is a prominent human rights activist with a special interest in the condition of Yemeni prisoners. He heads the Al-Tageer human rights organization and owns the Al-Mostakela newspaper. Jane Novak interviewed him for the Global Politician.
Q: Mr. Hashid, thank you for granting this interview. Can you tell us generally about the condition of human rights in Yemen? Which areas in your opinion require urgent attention?
ASH: Human rights in Yemen are totally absent. Crimes are committed by those responsible for protecting the law and its application. It pains me to find the security apparatuses practice torture, attacks and the worst kinds of mistreatments in the prisons and custody centers and also outside them.
This happens under the weak judiciary and the decorative parliament that was produced by terrible corruption and hasn’t even the minimum degree of responsibility. This country supports the tribe with its ignorant traditions at the expense of the law. It stands against law, and uses its force over the victims and over the legal articles that protect the human rights.
Q: You have been very active in advocating for the humane treatment of prisoners. What are the conditions like for prisoners in Yemeni central prisons in terms of food, sanitary conditions, medical care and abuse?
AHS: The food served to the prisoners is unpalatable and prepared in unhygienic conditions. The Parliamentary Committee of Rights and Freedom recommended increasing food allocations two years ago. Unfortunately the parliament has decreased the allocation. The most painful tragedy is that hundreds of prisoners do not receive any food allocations at all. For instance, the Sana’a Migrations and Passports Jail and some jails in Al- Houdadah depend on charity and soldiers’ food remains.
Some jails don’t have any infirmaries. Some others do, but they are in urgent need of medicine and equipment. Prisoners must purchase their prescriptions from the market; otherwise, they die in the jail.
Skin diseases are also common in some jails and are not treated. Some women are found to be suffering from diseases including syphilis and other skin diseases considered so disgusting that they are rejected by hospitals and are not kept in separation as a preventive measure.
The sanitary conditions in the prisons and custody centers are miserable. Heaps of urine bottles and defecation plastic bags were noticed at the corners of some prisons. The military police prison in Sana’a is one example. Other prisons, which are ancient and dirty buildings, do not have any good ventilation. This situation becomes worse during hot weather and when moisture increases. In some prisons, they use waste water due to the absence of drinkable water.
The prisons in Yemen are over crowded with the number of prisoners exceeding three times the capacity. It is unbelievable to find districts in Al-Houdeida governorate with no jails for women. In Alzaidia, female defendants are put in a house belonging to an old man. I visited this house and found five female defendants aged between ten and fifteen, accused of adultery, who have neither food nor health care allocations, but rather depend on charity.
If you haven’t lost your stomach, read the whole interview here.