Document - Yemen: Yemeni man's execution halted once again

URGENT ACTION

Further information on UA: 23/12 Index: MDE 31/012/2013 Yemen Date: 7 May 2013

URGENT ACTION YEMENI MAN'S EXECUTION HALTED ONCE AGAIN A Yemeni man who had been told that he would be executed as early as 5 May was granted a stay of execution on 4 May. His case, and those of all others on death row whose ages are disputed, will be reviewed by a medical examination committee. The offices of both the Yemeni President and the Ministry of Justice intervened on 4 May to halt the execution of Muhammad Abdul Wahhab Faysal al-Qassem for the second time in three months. The General Prosecutor’s office had told Muhammad Abdul Wahhab Faysal al-Qassem on 29 April 2013 that he would be executed within the next few days. In February 2013, he had been granted a stay of execution by the country's president four days before he was scheduled to be executed. The judicial authorities were expected to review his case and take new steps to verify his age, which is still disputed. Amnesty International is unaware of any steps taken by the judicial authorities to review his case before he was told that his execution had been scheduled once again.

His case, as well as those of all other prisoners whose ages at the time of the crimes of which they were convicted are disputed, are now expected to be reviewed by a medical examination committee.

Yemeni law prohibits the use of the death penalty against juvenile offenders (those convicted of crimes committed when they were under 18 years old). However, in practice some courts in Yemen are still imposing the death penalty on defendants who may have been under the age of 18 at the time of the offence. In many areas of Yemen, birth certificates are not issued or sought by families, creating confusion around the date of birth of alleged young offenders. Prosecutors typically hire medical examiners who in many cases have been accused of drawing biased conclusions that support the prosecution’s view on the age of the defendant.

An official medical examination committee was formed on 16 June 2012 to determine the age of alleged juvenile offenders, especially in cases where birth certificates are unavailable. The medical committee, which has been supported and funded by UNICEF and the European Commission, has so far been unable to carry out effective work, due to a lack of appropriate legislation or definition of its status. In February 2013, Yemen's President ordered the reinstatement of the medical examination committee. It has not so far been involved in the case of Muhammad Abdul Wahhab Faysal al-Qassem.

No further action is requested from the UA network. Many thanks to all who sent appeals. This is the fourth update of UA 23/13. Further information: http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE31/011/2013/en

Name: Muhammad Abdul Wahhab Faysal al-Qassem Gender: Male

Further information on UA: 23/12 Index: MDE 31/012/2013 Issue Date: 7 May 2013

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