The American Center for Justice (ACJ) condemns the assassination of the journalist Rasha Al-Harazi and her fetus, and the serious injury of her husband, journalist Mahmoud Al-Otmi when an explosive device exploded targeting their car in the Khormaksar neighborhood of the interim capital, Aden, on Tuesday.
The Center stresses that targeting journalists in any way is a crime and a serious violation that is not limited to journalists alone, but rather violates the right of society to have a strong free press that shows the truth, defends the rights of society and confronts crime. As journalists practice their profession by peaceful means and are not considered a party to the conflict that has been going on in Yemen for 7 years. However, during the war period, 52 journalists were killed, dozens were arrested, tortured and subjected to illegal trials, and five journalists were sentenced to death.
(ACJ) calls on the security authorities in Aden to quickly investigate the incident, uncover the clues of the crime, refer the perpetrators to the judiciary, and reveal the perpetrators of all previous crimes which targeted many civilians, politicians, journalists, preachers, academics, partisans, judges, and others. (ACJ) also points out that the inaction in investigating and revealing the perpetrators of the assassination crimes contributed to the increase in crimes in a brutal and hideous manner.
Since the assassination of the former governor of Aden, Jaafar Muhammad Saad, on December 6, 2015, the series of assassinations has been relentlessly killing the interim capital, Aden, targeting life in it and all its civilizational, political, cultural, religious, military and journalistic features, without the authorities in control of the city (the UAE-backed Transitional Council) being able to put an end to it although it announced several times the arrest of the killers and the perpetrators of the assassinations, including the assassination of the governor, Jaafar Saad, but the fate of the killers was not revealed neither were they referred to trial.
The former director of security in Aden, “Shalal Shaye,” confirmed more than once that his administration had arrested the perpetrators of these assassinations and confirmed that the administration would carry out its duty to interrogate them, reveal their identities and refer them to trial, but none of this has happened. This prompted the families of the victims to repeat their demand to reveal the real perpetrators and perpetrators of the crimes as Kawthar Shathely, the Governor Jaafar’s wife, demanded in more than one event to reveal the fate of the killers of her husband in case the Aden Security Department had actually arrested them.
That was the same demand of the family of the preacher Samhan Rawi, who was assassinated in early 2016. The investigations records of the Public Prosecution Office in Aden revealed in July 2019, new details about his assassination, and the confessions of the accused included information about the involvement of well-known political figures in the planning and supervision of the assassination crime, in addition to recruiting 30-strong assassination squads, with the aim of liquidating a list of 25 personalities and imams of mosques in Aden. On the top of this list was Sheikh Samhan al-Rawi according to the confessions recorded in the investigation records with those accused of carrying out the operation.
On the first anniversary of the assassination of journalist Nabil Al-Quaiti, who was assassinated on June 2, 2020, a statement issued by his family denied the alleged statements of Hani Bin Brik and Shallal Shaye regarding the arrest of the Al-Quaiti killers. The statement indicated that the two people whose arrest was announced were released, and confirmed that there was no real interest from the Aden Security Department to follow up on the case, but rather a lot of promises, procrastination and unjustified stalling to obscure all evidence and proofs according to the family statement.
Since its liberation, the interim capital of Aden has witnessed a wave of continuous violence, and its residents suffer from fear of assassination, whose papers have been mixed, amid a state of loss of security and safety, and they face the risk of “random death” in light of the ambiguity of the investigations as well as the silence of the multiple security agencies responsible for Security in the city.
We, in the American Center for Justice (ACJ), express our deep concern about the increase in assassinations in the city of Aden, and we call for an immediate investigation into the assassination incidents and for the perpetrators to be brought to a fair trial. We affirm that the escalation of assassinations comes as a result of the impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators of previous crimes, and we also warn that the security failure in Aden is caused by the multiplicity of security services and conflicting tasks, in addition to these security formations not affiliated with the Ministry of Interior which resulted in a unbalanced security situation in the city.
American Center for Justice (ACJ)
November 10, 2021