Yemen: Physical assault of human rights defenders

Front Line

On 14 December 2010, human rights defenders Ms Tawakkol Karman, Ms Bushra Alsorabi and Mr Ali Hussain al-Dailami were physically assaulted during a peaceful protest in Sana'a, Yemen. 
Tawakkol Karman and Bushra Alsorabi are Chairperson and Executive Director respectively of Women Journalists Without Chains (WJWC), an organisation which campaigns for freedom of the press and other human rights in Yemen. Ali Hussain al-Dailami is the executive director of the Yemeni Organization for the Defence of Democratic Rights and Freedom.

Tawakkol Karman has been the subject of Front Line Urgent Appeals dated 9 October 2009 and 27 October 2010, along with Bushra Alsorabi. Ali Hussain al-Dailami has been the subject of Front Line Urgent Appeals dated 17 October 2006 and 10 April 2009.

It is reported that on 14 December 2010, the three human rights defenders were assaulted while participating in a peaceful sit-in in front of the House of Representatives to call for the release of detainees related to the Sa’da conflict.

The anti-riot police intervened, allegedly using excessive force to disperse the protesters: during the crackdown, Tawakkol Karman and Bushra Alsorabi were reportedly pushed and violently harassed while Ali al-Dailami was reportedly beaten over his back with batons and dragged along the street by police in a humiliating manner. Many other participants in the sit-in were allegedly assaulted and/or detained by the riot police.

In 2009, Ali Al Dailami received direct threats, as well as threatening phone calls and messages in relation to his role in the ongoing campaign for the release of detainees related to the Sa'da conflict.

Front Line believes that the physical assault of Tawakkol Karman, Bushra Alsorabi and Ali al-Dailami is directly related to their legitimate and peaceful activities in defence of human rights.

Posted on 2011/01/07