Document - Yemen: Student political activist beaten, shot at: Abdul Raouf Hassan Zain al-Saqqaf

URGENT ACTION

UA: 341/12 Index: MDE 31/015/2012 Yemen Date: 29 November 2012

URGENT ACTION STUDENT POLITICAL ACTIVIST BEATEN, SHOT AT Student political activist Abdul Raouf Hassan Zain al-Saqqaf was severely beaten on 23 November and shot at two days later, in the southern city of Aden. Amnesty International believes that he is being targeted for his political activism and his life is in danger. Aden University student and political activist Abdul Raouf Hassan Zain al-Saqqaf, a member of the political coalition the Southern Movement, survived an attempt on his life in the al-Mu’alla area of Aden on 25 November. According to Abdul Raouf, masked gunmen in a car followed him on his way to university and forced him to pull over and get out of his car. They then tried to kidnap him. When he resisted, one gunman fired twice in his direction. One bullet barely missed him, leaving a surface wound on his stomach before hitting his car. Photos seen by Amnesty International show two bullet holes in his car.

This came two days after Abdul Raouf was badly beaten by men believed to be connected to the Islah party in al- Mu’alla on 23 November. According to Southern Movement activists, their peaceful march was interrupted by Islah activists who then attacked and injured four of their members. One of the Southern Movement activists, Muhammad Mehmash, was taken to an Islah office where he was severely beaten. According to Abdul Raouf, he was asked to go to the office to retrieve Muhammad. When he did, he was also severely beaten and sustained multiple head injuries.

The Southern Movement (also known as al-Hirak, a short form of its name in Arabic) is a loose coalition of political groups, many of whom call for the peaceful separation of southern Yemen, which was independent until its unification with the north in 1990.

Please write immediately in Arabic, English or your own language: ν Urging the authorities to ensure Abdul Raouf Hassan Zain al-Saqqaf’s safety; ν Calling on them to order an immediate, impartial and thorough investigation into the attacks carried out on Abdul Raouf Hassan Zain al-Saqqaf and others on 23 and 25 November, and bring those responsible to justice; ν Asking them to guarantee the security of all other activists peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression or assembly.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 10 JANUARY 2013 TO: Minister of the Interior His Excellency Abdul-Qader Qahtan Ministry of Interior Sana’a Republic of Yemen Fax: +967 1 1 331 899 Email: moi@yemen.net.ye Salutation: Your Excellency

Governor of Aden Waheed Ali Rasheed PO Box: 6013, Khormaksar Aden Republic of Yemen Fax: +967 2 2246996 Salutation: Dear Mr Waheed Ali Rasheed

And copies to: Minister of Human Rights Her Excellency Houriah Ahmed Mashhour Ministry of Human Rights Sana’a Republic of Yemen Fax: +967 1 444 833 Email: mshr@y.net.ye

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.

Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.

URGENT ACTION STUDENT POLITICAL ACTIVIST BEATEN, SHOT AT

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION Protests in the south of Yemen have been taking place sporadically since 2007 when retired soldiers from the south launched protests complaining that they were not receiving the same treatment in employment, salary and pensions as soldiers from the north of the country. Most of the retired soldiers are from the army of the former People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY ), commonly known as South Yemen. Following the unification of the country in 1990, the armies of both the PDRY and the Yemen Arab Republic (YAR), commonly known as North Yemen, were merged into a single army for the new Republic of Yemen. However, after a civil war in 1994, which ended in the defeat of the South, many of the soldiers of the former PDRY were dismissed from the army. They, as well as those who remained in the current unified army, have alleged that they are subjected to discrimination in relation to soldiers originally from the army of the YAR.

The Southern Movement appears to have emerged following these protests and began to organize its own demonstrations over what it perceives to be the government’s failure to address discrimination against people from the south of the country. The government’s response to these protests has been heavy-handed. Dozens of demonstrators have been killed in or near demonstrations; in many cases they appear to have been shot dead unlawfully when posing no threat to the lives of the security forces or others. Since the protests began in 2007, the security forces have arrested and detained, in many cases arbitrarily, thousands of demonstrators and bystanders, as well as leaders and activists of the Southern Movement.

Since February 2011 and following calls for the president to stand down, protesters in Aden in particular have started calling for regime change and for the president to stand down. Protests calling for the south to separate from the rest of the country have also taken place in Aden and other parts of south Yemen. These have been met at times with excessive use of force (see for instance this news story from 9 July 2012 at http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/yemen-must-investigate-sniper-killings-protesters- 2012-07-09).

The security forces in Yemen have also targeted students and other political activists engaged in peaceful protests in the south of the country. Abdul Raouf Hassan Zain al-Saqqaf has been arrested twice in 2012 in connection with his political activities (see this news story from 30 August 2012 at http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/yemen-must-end-intimidation-southern-activists- 2012-08-30).

Name: Abdul Raouf Hassan Zain al-Saqqaf Gender m/f: m

UA: 341/12 Index: MDE 31/015/2012 Issue Date: 29 November 2012

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