(ACJ): Marib authorities must quickly refer the accused of arresting and torturing jornalist “Mohammed Al-Ayashi,” to the court to achieve justice
  • 2024-01-25

    Michigan - The American Center for Justice (ACJ) said that the authorities in Marib were required to quickly refer one of their security officials, who is accused of arresting and torturing journalist Mohammed Al-Ayashi to the court and achieve justice for him. The Center indicated that what happened with the journalist is a clear assault on the basic rights guaranteed by Yemeni law and requires a direct investigation by the judicial authorities in the governorate.

     Journalist “Al-Ayashi” said in a letter he sent to the American Center for Justice that he was kidnapped and tortured for 129 days by a well-known officer without any legal basis. Mohammed Al-Ayashi, who works as a media officer in a private hospital, added, “I was summoned to the office of the hospital director, and there was a well-known officer there. He asked me several questions, including personal ones and others related to accounts on Facebook that published about financial and administrative corruption in the hospital. After I denied my connection to any social media accounts, the investigation continued with me for two hours before armed men came to me and forcefully took me to a car and asked me to remain silent. Then I was taken to criminal investigation.”

    He added, "I was interrogated more than once, and I was tortured by that officer, as I was blindfolded and beaten on the neck and back. They threatened that I would meet the same fate as one of their detainees. They told me that one of my cellmates had been tortured with a grill, hung, his beard had been shaved, his hands and feet had been beaten hammered, and that he was in the last breath of his life,” according to what he reported. Al-Ayashi added in his complaint that he was interrogated repeatedly throughout the period of his disappearance, which extended for weeks. He also said that the direct supervisor of the investigation with him was that officer, and he was the only one who knew Al-Ayashi's whereabouts, and summoned him whenever he wanted to interrogate him with the same questions and charges using harsher methods.

    Al-Ayashi pointed out in his testimony that “the most terrifying night I experienced was a night when, as usual, I was subjected to interrogation and torture while I was handcuffed. This time, it was the officer and his son who were torturing me, along with three others, who also participated in the torture and beatings on various parts of my body, the effects of which remained for a long time.”

    During his testimony, the journalist noted that the officer responsible for torturing and interrogating him was “during his period of rest from torture, he would open my cell phones and read the messages and search them in front of me, reviewing the pictures and invading my privacy, which are still with him until this moment.”

    The authorities in Marib released the journalist “Al-Ayashi” after nearly four months of disappearance and torture, following the intervention of a member of the Presidential Command Council and Governor of the governorate, Major General “Sultan Al-Arada.” After learning what happened, he suspended the officer from his job, and he remains detained to this day. 

    The ACJ affirms that the circumstances of the kidnapping and torture of the journalist “Mohammed Al-Ayashi” indicate a serious and unacceptable violation of the basic rights guaranteed by Yemeni laws, including Article (48) of the Constitution, which stipulates: “The state guarantees citizens their personal freedom and preserves their dignity and security. The law determines the cases in which a citizen’s freedom is restricted, and no one’s freedom may be restricted except by a ruling from a competent court.” Also, the Code of Criminal Procedure (7/1) states that “arrests are not permitted except in relation to acts punishable by law and must be based on the law.” The set of principles relating to the protection of all persons subjected to any form of detention or imprisonment stipulates: "shall be prohibited to take undue advantage of the situation of a detained or imprisoned person for the purpose of compelling him to confess, to incriminate himself otherwise or to testify against any other person. No detained person while being interrogated shall be subject to violence, threats or methods of interrogation which impair his capacity of decision or his judgement. 

    The American Center for Justice (ACJ) confirms that arresting the officer responsible for the detention  and torture of the journalist “Al-Ayashi” according to that claim -  is insufficient. The Center also called on the Center to quickly refer him to the judiciary and ensure the imposition of deterrent punishment for the violations he committed, stressing at the same time that the regulatory bodies in the governorate are required to play a more effective role to ensure that such incidents do not reoccur.