2003 Report by the Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Theo van Boven


1959. By letter dated 17 October 2002, the Special Rapporteur reminded the Government of a number of cases transmitted in 1996 regarding which no reply had been received.

Urgent appeals

1960. On 15 February 2002, the Special Rapporteur sent an urgent appeal on behalf of ‘Abdul ‘Aziz al-Sharif, an Egyptian national, said to be at risk of being forcibly returned to his country of origin. He was reportedly working as a surgeon in the city of Ibb in Yemen when he was arrested at the hospital where he worked about three months ago by members of the Political Security Office (PSO). There were conflicting reports as to his current whereabouts. It was believed that he may have been arrested because of his connection to Afghanistan. Prior to his entry into the Yemen, he worked as a surgeon with the Mujahideen fighting the Soviet Union in Afghanistan during the early 1990's.

1961. On 10 June 2002, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent appeal with the Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression on behalf of Abdul-Rahim Mohsen, a writer and journalist at the daily “Al- Thawri”, the opposition Socialist Party's newspaper, who was reportedly sentenced on 4 June 2002, together with Khaled Salman and Ibrahim Hasan, respectively editor-in-chief and journalists at “Al Thawri” to five-month suspended prison sentences, after having been charged by the Ministry of Information with incitement to “religious sedition” and “harming national unity” following the publication of a series of articles in February. It is reported that, while Khaled Salman and Ibrahim Hasan were released after the sentence, Abdul-Rahim Mohsen, who had been arrested on 23 May, remains in custody. The Ministry of the Interior refused to disclose details of his whereabouts. It was believed that he had been incarcerated in connection with articles in which he criticized government corruption, human rights violations and the wave of arrests that followed the 11 September 2001 terrorist attack in the United States.


1962. The Special Rapporteur notes with concern that no response has been provided to cases brought to the attention of the Government since 1996.

1963. The Special Rapporteur considers it appropriate to draw attention to the concerns expressed by the Human Rights Committee in its consideration of the third periodic report of Yemen in July 2002 under the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, in which the Committee expressed its concern as follows: “[t]he Committee is extremely concerned to find that amputation and flagellation, and in general corporal punishment are still prescribed by law and practised, contrary to article 7 of the Covenant. (…)The Committee is disturbed to note the existence of cases of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment for which law enforcement officers are responsible. It is equally concerned at the absence, in general, of investigations into such reprehensible practices and of punishment of the perpetrators. It is also concerned at the absence of an independent body to investigate such complaints (arts. 6 and 7 of the Covenant).” (CCPR/CO/75/YEM, paras 16 and 17)

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