Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Saleh: Suppressing opponents from within

In Yemen, president's regime has long used torture as part of its "security apparatus".

Nir Rosen

"Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh's violent suppression of peaceful demonstrators since February, and his seeming determination to drive his country to civil war must surely be embarrassing to his former allies and sponsors. Chief among them, the US and Saudi governments must be aghast with horror at the upheaval today. But his regime was brutal - and his rule arbitrary - long before the revolutionary demonstrations swept east from Tunisia to Egypt and on to Yemen. When he is gone will the structure of terror he created remain?.....

'Torture part of security apparatus'

Magid said that the US had trained the Counter-Terrorism Unit and the National Security Forces. "CTU officially belongs to the Ministry of Interior, but unofficially it's the hand of National Security. These two apparatuses commit the most violations. In cases of illegal arrest, torture, beating, forced disappearance, these two are the most involved. National Security and Political Security torture, but everybody knows about it. We want to spotlight Criminal investigation because nobody knows about it and they think its their right to torture to get information. When they torture they torture normal poor people - not journalists or others - and they go silent and don't talk about it because they think it's a legal procedure. Its repeated every day. It's frightening how common it is.".......

One incident of security force abuse would become a cause for demonstrators in southern Yemen - much as the murder of Khaled Said by Egyptian police became a rallying cry for Cairo's youth. On June 24, 2010, 25-year-old Ahmad Darwish was arrested late at night at a neighbour's house. Security forces broke into the house in search of a member of an Islamist group. About seven men from Central Security forces arrested Ahmad and two other men with him. Ahmad struggled during the arrest. He was beaten in the police car.

At the criminal investigation office he was separated from other prisoners and taken to a cell where he was beaten by a guard. He was beaten all day. The next morning. his brother Anwar was called. "Come and take your brother to the hospital, he is very sick," they told him. Anwar arrived and found Ahmad lying on the ground in a sea of blood. Ahmad was vomiting. He told Anwar that the previous night the guards had injected him with something. Minutes later, Ahmad died....."

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