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REPUBLIC OF YEMEN:
30 OPPOSITION FIGURES SENTENCED TO DEATH

Update info:
19 Jul 2019 (Updated)
Latest info:
14 May 2019
Country:
REPUBLIC OF YEMEN
Subject:
Youssef al-Bawab (he/him), 29 men (they/them)
Period:
27 Aug 2019
Distribution date:
19 Jul 2019
UA No:
051/2019

On 9 July 2019, the Huthi-run Specialized Criminal Court (SCC) of Sana’a sentenced to death 30 academics and political figures based on trumped-up charges, including espionage for the Saudi Arabia-led Coalition. Amongst those is Youssef al-Bawab, a 45-year-old father of five, linguistics professor and political figure, who was arbitrarily arrested in late 2016. Amnesty calls on the Huthi de facto authorities to quash the death sentences of Youssef al-Bawab and the 29 other men and release them immediately as they are being punished for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression.

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Youssef al-Bawab, a 45-year-old father of five, is a linguistics professor and political figure. He was being tried alongside 35 others who were all arbitrarily arrested between 2015 and 2016 by the Huthis and allied forces.

On 20 October 2016, Youssef al-Bawab was arbitrarily arrested as he was leaving his local mosque in Sana’a. Later that night, the Huthi de facto authorities raided his house, where his wife and five children live, and confiscated his belongings, including his personal computer and 150 academic documents. During the first three months, the family was unable to obtain any official information as to his whereabouts; they only found out that PSO was detaining him three months later, through unofficial channels. He was interrogated for the first time in March 2017 in the presence of his lawyer, the only time he was permitted to have legal counsel prior to the trial. He was then charged on 8 April 2017, alongside 35 others, with several offences, including assisting the Saudi Arabia-led coalition with intelligence regarding military objectives and organizing assassinations; most of these charges carry the death penalty. Throughout his detention, proceedings against Youssef al-Bawab were seriously flawed. Irregularities included enforced disappearance, excessive pre-trial detention, undue delays in his trial, incommunicado detention, claims of torture and other ill-treatment and lack of access to legal counsel and medical care.

All parties to the conflict, including Huthi forces, the Yemeni government, the Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (UAE)-led coalition and UAE-backed Yemeni forces have engaged in arbitrary detention practices. In areas they controlled, Huthi forces arbitrarily arrested and detained critics and opponents as well as journalists, human rights defenders and members of the Baha’i community, subjecting scores to unfair trials, incommunicado detention and enforced disappearance. The majority of those targeted have been leaders, members or supporters of the political party al-Islah. The internationally recognized Yemeni government harassed, threatened and arbitrarily detained human rights defenders and other activists. Meanwhile, UAE-backed Yemeni forces in southern Yemen conducted a campaign of arbitrary detentions and enforced disappearances. In May 2018, Amnesty International published a report detailing the cases of 51 men held in a network of secret prisons by UAE and Yemeni forces operating outside the command of Yemen’s government, including individuals detained between March 2016 and May 2018.

PREFERRED LANGUAGE TO ADDRESS TARGET: Arabic or English
You can also write in your own language.

PLEASE TAKE ACTION AS SOON AS POSSIBLE UNTIL: 27 August 2019
Please check with the Amnesty office in your country if you wish to send appeals after the deadline.

NAME AND PREFERRED PRONOUN: Youssef al-Bawab (he/him), 29 men (they/them)

Take action

WRITE AN APPEAL IN YOUR OWN WORDS OR USE THIS MODEL LETTER

Mohamed Abdelsalam
Ansarullah Representative at UN-led Peace Talks
Email: mdabdalsalam@gmail.com
Twitter: @abdusalamsalah

Dear Mr. Abdelsalam,

On 9 July 2019, the Huthi-run Specialized Criminal Court (SCC) of Sana’a sentenced to death 30 academics and political figures. The 30 men will appeal their sentence. Six other people also on trial were acquitted.

Amongst those sentenced to death is Youssef al-Bawab, a 45-year-old father of five, linguistics professor and political figure, who was arbitrarily arrested in late 2016. He was charged in April 2017, alongside 35 others, with several offences carrying the death penalty. Throughout his detention, proceedings against him and others in the same case were seriously flawed, and included enforced disappearance, excessive pre-trial detention, undue delays in his trial, incommunicado detention, claims of torture and other ill-treatment and lack of access to legal counsel and medical care.

During one of the trial sessions on 2 April 2019, Youssef al-Bawab stated how he and others had been subjected to torture and other ill-treatment throughout their detention at the Political Security Office (PSO) in Sana’a, including beatings, being hung from the ceilings and tied up using iron chains. The court did not respond to Youssef’s statement and the judge failed to order an investigation into these claims.

I urge you to ensure that the death sentences against Youssef al-Bawab and the 29 other men are quashed and that they are immediately released, as they are being punished solely for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression. In the meantime, I urge you to ensure that they are protected from torture and other ill-treatment, granted access to adequate medical treatment and regular access to their lawyer and family.

Yours sincerely,