American Center for Justice (ACJ) Condemns the Killing of Atef al-Harazi by Elements Affiliated with STC

The American Center for Justice (ACJ) condemns the killing of Atef Saif Muhammad Hassan al-Harazi (33 years old, Taiz governorate), on the evening of Wednesday, October 4, 2021 by gunmen at one of the points of Tur al-Baha, the entrance to Lahj governorate near the point (Rashash, where Abdul-Malek al-Sanbani was killed early last September). This checkpoint is a security point affiliated with the Security Belt of the UAE-backed Transitional Council.

Al-Harazi’s family told the American Center for Justice (AJC) that the gunmen stopped their son and his companions, searched them, then confiscated their phones and demanded payment of money in exchange for their release. When their son Atef refused to pay the amount, he was shot and killed.

According to the forensics’ report, Atef Al-Harazi was killed by three bullets, one of which penetrated his chest and exited from the back.

One of the victims colleagues who was with him when this incident took place told ACJ, “We were heading in the car of my colleague, the martyr Atef, to the city of Aden, and when we arrived at Tur al-Baha, about 250 meters after Rashash point, two armed men stopped us and asked us to give them our mobiles to search them, so we gave them. After we had given one of them the mobile phones, we were surprised that he asked us for 100,000 riyals otherwise he would not return the phones. My colleague Atef tried to convince him to return the phones back, but he refused and dealt with him violently and wanted to use a Kalashnikov. Atef was trying to prevent him from that and they fell to the ground and the other individual shot and then approached and pointed his gun directly at Atef’s body and shot him several times. Atef died directly and then they left.”

Another witness spoke, saying, “The day before Al-Harazi was killed, I was stopped with my car at the same point where he was killed. About an hour later, a military group came and addressed one of the crew members present at the point. Ibrahim said you should leave him, so they let me leave.”

Impunity, lack of accountability, weakness of the judiciary and security apparatus, and regional incitement all led to the occurrence of such violations in Yemen in general and the areas under the control of the Southern Transitional Council and other armed groups in particular.

The American Center for Justice strongly condemns the continued killing, blackmailing, targeting of travelers and the practice of numerous violations against them by the checkpoints of the security belts affiliated with the Transitional Council that are spread across the road. We call for the speedy arrest of the perpetrators, the handing over of the killers of Abdul-Malik Al-Sanabani and Atef Al-Harazi to the prosecution, and enabling the judiciary to conduct independent investigations and hold the perpetrators accountable in accordance with the laws.

(ACJ) calls on the United Nations to activate its legal mechanisms and exert pressure to provide protection for civilians and travelers, protect their basic rights, hold those involved in committing violations accountable, and use all its tools and resources to contribute to putting an end to the increasing violations and bringing peace to Yemen.

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