Yemen: ending the repression must be a prerequisite for any political agreement

Press release
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While the Yemeni President dithers over the content of a political agreement initiated by the Gulf Cooperation Council, the harsh repression against peaceful protests continues in Yemen. Between May 8 and 11, 2011 seven demonstrators were killed after the security forces and the army opened fire on peaceful demonstrations in Taez.

Last Update/May12 : The Yemeni authorities have once again resorted to excessive use of force against peaceful protesters on May 11 in several cities. The number of protesters killed May 11 in Yemen is 14 persons, 12 in Sana’a, one in Taiz and an other in Hudaidah. The number of injured is estimated at 1,200.

The demonstrators gathered outside government buildings to call officials to join the strike. Meanwhile witnesses reported destruction of public property by members of security forces in civilian clothes.

In recent days, the presence of snipers has been registered and many protesters have been abducted by police and detained without any information neither on their location nor on charges against them for a period which varied betewen two to three days. Many detainees reported torture at the premises of national security and guard Republicans.

Protesters arrested in recent days have all released after intervention by their lawyers, without any charges being issued against them. All complaints lodged by associations defending human rights for killings, torture and arbitrary arrests have remained unanswered.

FIDH denounces the continuation of the deadly repression of protests in Yemen and calls upon the International community and the Gulf Cooperation Council in particular, to urge the Yemeni government to put an immediate end to these grave human rights violations.

According to a medical source, one protester was killed and several severely wounded (two are brain dead) on May 11, in Taez when police forces tried to disperse an anti-government demonstration which has been ongoing for the past three days in front of a government building. On May 9, four demonstrators were reportedly killed and at least 54 were wounded, including five people who incurred bullet wounds as the governmental forces opened fire on the protesters. This protest came after two protesters were killed on May 8 when the security forces and the army government troops fired on a demonstration in front of the regional office of the ministry of education. Thousands of teachers and students demanding better pay and the postponement of final exams have been staging a sit-in outside the ministry building for weeks. On May 8, they were joined by hundreds of anti-regime protesters who set up tents and stayed through the night.

According to the Human Rights Information and Training Center (HRITC), members of the army have been seen taking wounded demonstrators to an unknown location. An ambulance was also seized by the army and its medical team has not been seen since May 9.

According to the Sisters’ Arab Forum For Human Rights at least 135 people have been killed by the government forces in Yemen since the beginning of the protest movement on February 16, 2011 (click here to access the list).

Despite a promise by the Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh on April 12, 2011 to put an end to systematized political of human rights violations and to engage a dialogue with the opposition parties the brutal repression on the part of the Yemeni authorities has continued.

FIDH calls upon the international community to break the silence about the ongoing violent repression in Yemen and take the necessary measures to ensure an immediate end to this harsh repression.

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