Date: 26 April 2022
Dear members of the newly-formed Yemeni Presidential Leadership Council
From/ SAM Organization for Rights and Liberties, Geneva
Subject: A humanitarian appeal and a call for the release of detainees and the disclosure of the fate of the disappeared individuals inside the prisons
SAM Organization for Rights and Liberties aims, through its current humanitarian appeal, to urge you to take concrete steps to speed up the release of a detainee and fulfill his mother's wish to communicate with him and work to release all detainees and stop all illegal violations.
With reference to the above subject, we would like to inform you that we have been contacted by the family of the kidnapped "Ibrahim Saghir Ali Ahmed Al-Raymi", 30 years old, who disappeared on August 08, 2019 from a hotel in Aden as one of his brothers reported that they had lost contact with their brother, who works in digging sanitation ditches, without knowing his whereabouts until it was confirmed by a former detainee that he was in the Strom (Asifah) Brigade in Aden, which is under the control of "Awsan Al-Anshly" without knowing more details.
In their appeal to the "SAM" team, the family stated that Ibrahim's mother suffers from a continuous deterioration in her health due to the disappearance of her son and the denial of communication with him since the day he was kidnapped to this day.
It has been proven to our organization beyond any doubt that the actions of some individuals affiliated with the “legitimate government” flagrantly and unjustifiably violate the legal rules stipulated in the Yemeni constitution and international law which portends a serious violation that requires your urgent action to stop these practices, identify the individuals responsible for these violations, and bring them to justice for the unjustified violations they committed.
"SAM" affirms that you, as a "Presidential Leadership Council", have great responsibilities and challenges, especially with the continuation of the conflict that has lasted for years, one of whose parties is members of the Presidential Council. It also stresses that the biggest of these challenges is gaining the confidence of the Yemeni citizen by starting to end all violations that have been and still being practiced against civilians, foremost of which are the areas under the control of members of the current Presidential Council in Aden, the West Coast, Marib and Hadramout. It is also important to start a process of comprehensive economic and political reforms that focus on protecting the basic rights of those individuals and enabling them to fulfill the rights enshrined in international law.
"SAM" stresses that the procedures for bringing and arresting people must go through several legal stages in order to meet the conditions specified by the Yemeni constitution and international law. However, what we have observed through the complaints submitted to us as an international organization confirms that the judicial and legal authorities do not follow the procedures you know in order to arrest people and put them in prisons on specific charges.
We also stress that the detention of Yemeni citizens without any charges being brought or the initiation of legal procedures based on actual reasons is an act of extrajudicial abduction. This holds the judicial authorities fully legally responsible for the lives of these people and their responsibility to take all steps to ensure the release of individuals who have not been proven guilty of any charges, in addition to prosecuting people in accordance with the rules of Yemeni law and applying the penalty to people who are proven to be involved in legal violations after being brought to fair trials and allowing them to present their defences in full.
In this regard, we do not fail to emphasize the provisions of the Constitution of the Republic of Yemen and the laws in force that criminalize detention outside the law, including what is stipulated in Article (48) of the Constitution, which says: “The State shall guarantee to its citizens their personal freedom, preserve their dignity and security. The law shall define the cases in which citizens’ freedom may be restricted. Personal freedom cannot be restricted without the decision of a competent court of law.” Also, the Code of Criminal Procedure stated in (7/1) that “arrests are not permitted except in connection with acts punishable by law and must be based on the law.” This matter was confirmed again in Article (11) of the same law, which affirmed that, “Freedom is guaranteed, and a citizen may not be accused of committing a crime, nor may his freedom be restricted except by order of the competent authorities in accordance with what is stated in this law.”
We also confirm that there are a wide range of international agreements that guarantee personal freedom and prohibit any practice that would prejudice or restrict the freedom of individuals, as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirmed in Article (5) of it that: “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” Also, Article (10) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states that: “All persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person.”
SAM stresses the UN Declaration on the Protection of Persons from Enforced Disappearance, which refused to invoke any exceptional circumstances such as war or political instability to justify enforced disappearance which was included among crimes against humanity in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court in 1998.
The International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 20, 2006, states that the widespread or systematic practice of enforced disappearance constitutes a crime against humanity and gives the families of the victims the right to seek reparations. The Convention also stipulates the right not to be subjected to enforced disappearance, as well as the right of relatives of the disappeared person to know the truth. It includes several provisions related to the prevention, investigation and punishment of this crime, as well as the rights of victims and their relatives, and the unlawful removal of children born during captivity.
Taking into consideration all of the aforementioned, we ask your Excellency (as the authority empowered to follow up and protect the rights of individuals) to implement the law as follows:
Work swiftly to review the file of the detainee "Ibrahim Al-Raymi" and allow his mother to speak and communicate with him and release him in case no legal charges are proven against him.
Work to urgently and unconditionally release people who have not been proven to have committed any criminal offence.
Bring people against whom legal violations are proven to a fair trial, allow them to defend themselves and enable them to meet the requirements of a fair trial guaranteed by both Yemeni and international laws.
Work to form a permanent committee in order to monitor places of detention and arrest and to ensure the legality and due process followed to restrict the freedom of individuals and the closure of all detention centers outside the judiciary.
The Presidential Council should take responsibility for prisons and the disappeared individuals inside them, ensure the legality of all procedures, and ensure that prisoners and detainees enjoy their rights guaranteed by international law.
President of SAM Organization for Rights and Liberties