Freedom of Expression Must be Maintained
Marib governorate should immediately release the activist "Manea Sulaiman"
  • 11/07/2023
    SAM |

    Geneva - SAM Organization for Rights and Liberties said that the military police in the city of Marib had detained and disappeared the activist "Manea Sulaiman" on the background of his writings and expressing his opinions, in addition to denying him visitation. The organization called for his immediate release from the detention place and his release without restriction or condition, stressing that Manea's detention was unacceptable and violated the legal rules that guarantee freedom of opinion and expression.

    At 11:40 a.m., July 18, 2023, a military police force in the city of Marib arrested the writer and activist “Sulaiman,” 36, from the Al-Yamamah Hotel where he stayes with his family after claiming that he insulted the companions of the prophet and religious beliefs. On the second day, a military police force came and surrounded the hotel, and a women's police force stormed the room where he stayed in the hotel. They searched for papers and a laptop belonging to Sulaiman and took the cell phone of one of the women.

    Relatives of the activist "Sulaiman" confirmed, during their communication with "SAM", that this matter was false and that what the military police did was based on political directives because of Sulaiman's activity on social media. They also confirmed that they were prevented from visiting him since his arrest.

    "SAM" pointed out that, according to the information obtained from the activist's family, the military police arrested him "without explaining the reasons to him, stressing that (Sulaiman) does not have a lawyer to represent him before the judicial authorities, and that they were prevented from visiting him from the moment of his abduction until this moment."

    Tawfiq Al-Hamidi said, "Activist Sulaiman must be immediately released. people should not be arrested based on religious justifications and restrictions on freedom of opinion are unacceptable. This behavior is unacceptable and does not serve public freedoms in Yemen. It also holds public authorities responsible." He added, "The activism of Sulaiman or other activists on social media should be respected because the behavior of the authorities represents a real threat to the basic rights guaranteed by the Yemeni constitution and international law which  support freedom of expression without prosecution or arrest."

    The wife of the activist "Sulaiman" siad, " I call on in the Presidential Leadership Council and the Governor of Marib Governorate, the member of the Presidential Council, Sheikh Sultan Al-Arada, human rights and humanitarian organizations, and international organizations to "intervene to save my husband from persecution after our house was raided, and he was kidnapped, disappeared, tortured in prison, and prevented from being visited because of his views and intellectual writings." Sulaiman's wife added, during her appeal, "We hold everyone who imprisoned him, incited against him, accused him of blasphemy, and tortured him fully responsible for what we are all subjected to."

    “SAM” confirms that the testimonies it heard and the incidents it followed up showed unquestionably the violation committed by the authorities in Marib, and the military police in particular, against the legal rights guaranteed by international and Yemeni law, including the right to safety and legal representation before the courts, and not to arrest anyone except after a judicial ruling resulting from a full-fledged trial.

    What the authorities have done in Marib contradicts the provisions of the Yemeni constitution, Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which states that "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."

    The organization concluded its statement by calling on the authorities in Marib to immediately and unconditionally release the writer and activist "Manea Sulaiman" and to enable his family to visit him, stressing that the arrest and trial of people must be based on the procedural rules guaranteed by the law. SAM also emphasized that threatening activists with imprisonment and kidnapping was a practice that did not respect the laws and was considered a serious moral and legal violation of the accepted rules.

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