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Juvenile in Yemen Executed

Despite pleas from the international community including the European Union, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and letters from Stop Child Executions President, we are sad to inform you that officials in Yemen carried out the execution of juvenile Mohammad Abdal-karim Mohammad Haza on March 9th 2013.

Yemen: Halt Execution of Alleged Juvenile Offender

Juvenile Status Should Not be in Doubt

Source: 

http://www.hrw.org/news/2013/03/08/yemen-halt-execution-alleged-juvenile-offender

MARCH 8, 2013

 
President Hadi should postpone Haza`a’s execution at least until the full facts of his age are known. Such an irreversible punishment should never be carried out while there remains any credible doubt about whether the accused was a child at the time of the crime.
Priyanka Motaparthy, child rights researcher

(Beirut) – President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi ofYemen should immediately halt the scheduled execution of a man who may have been under 18 at the time of the alleged crime, Human Rights Watch said today. Mohammad Abd al-karim Mohammad Haza`a is due to face a firing squad on the morning of March 9, 2013.International treaties to which Yemen is a party, as well as Yemen’s penal law, specifically prohibit the execution of anyone convicted of committing a crime as a child – that is, under age 18. International law requires that in cases in which the age is uncertain, the person should have the benefit of the doubt.UNICEF, the United Nations children’s agency, has requested more time to assess conflicting documentary evidence relating to Haza`a’s age.“President Hadi should postpone Haza`a’s execution at least until the full facts of his age are known,” saidPriyanka Motaparthy, child rights researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Such an irreversible punishment should never be carried out while there remains any credible doubt about whether the accused was a child at the time of the crime.”Haza`a was convicted of a murder committed in August 1999. On July 11, 2000, the Court of First Instance in Taizz found that he was 17 at the time of the crime and sentenced him to prison and the payment of diya (blood money), in accordance with the requirements of Yemen's domestic laws governing sentences for juvenile offenders.The Appeals Court upheld the conviction but by a two-to-one majority amended the sentence, imposing the death penalty. The dissenting judge refused to sign the decision, citing his belief that Haza`a was under 18 at the time of the crime.Nevertheless, Yemen's Supreme Court confirmed the death sentence on April 14, 2008, without re-examining the issue of Haza`a's age. Yemen's president at that time, Ali Abdullah Saleh, signed Haza`a’s death warrant later that year.“President Hadi should uncover the truth about Haza`a’s age and not be bound by the decision of his predecessor,” Motaparthy said.International law prohibits the death penalty for crimes committed by anyone under 18. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, an international expert body, stated in its General Comment No. 10 of 2007 on children’s rights in juvenile justice that, “If there is no proof of age, the child is entitled to a reliable medical or social investigation that may establish his/her age and, in the case of conflict or inconclusive evidence, the child shall have the right to the rule of the benefit of the doubt.”Human Rights Watch released a report on March 4 about the use of the death penalty against juvenile offenders in Yemen, documenting how low birth registration, imprecise medical forensic age determination techniques, and faulty rulings by judges result in the continued executions of people who committed crimes under age 18.Yemen is one of only four countries known to have executed juvenile offenders in the past five years; the others are IranSaudi Arabia, and Sudan.Human Rights Watch opposes the death penalty in all circumstances as an inherently irreversible, inhumane punishment.

Juvenile in Yemen granted stay of execution

 

Source: Amnesty International

Muhammad Abdul Wahhab Faysal al-Qassem, has been granted a stay of execution by the Yemeni President on 6 February, he had been informed that he would be executed on 10 February. His age at the time of his alleged crime has been a cause of dispute. He told Amnesty International that the courts dismissed his birth certificate, which indicated he was under 18 and instead relied on falsified school certificates and a 2004 medical examination conducted to “prove” he was over 18. He insists the examination did not actually take place. The Yemeni judicial authorities are expected to review his case and take new steps to verify his age.   

Problems in determining the age of alleged juvenile offenders such as Muhammad Abdul Wahhab Faysal al-Qassem are endemic in Yemen. In many areas of the country birth certificates are not issued to or sought by families, creating confusion regarding the age of young alleged offenders. In cases where the age of an alleged juvenile offender is in doubt, Yemeni courts rely on medical examiners, named by the prosecution, who in many cases have been accused of drawing biased conclusions supporting the prosecution.

In June 2012, the Yemeni Ministry of Justice established an independent medical examination committee to determine ages of alleged juvenile offenders, especially in cases where birth certificates are unavailable. Despite support and funding from UNICEF and the European Commission, it lacked the appropriate legal status and jurisdiction and ceased to function within six months of its creation. It has not been involved in this case.

Please write immediately in Arabic, English or your own language:

n  Welcoming the suspension of Muhammad Abdul Wahhab Faysal al-Qassem’s execution and the possibility to review his case, in light of evidence that indicates that he may have been under 18 at the time of the alleged offence;

n  Calling for the commutation of his and all other death sentences, and for the relocation of prisoners under the death sentence to institutions of detention appropriate to their age and the offence committed;

n  Calling on the Yemeni authorities to prevent the imposition of the death penalty regardless of age;

n  Calling on the Justice Minister to reactivate the medical examination committee as a first step towards a comprehensive reform of the juvenile justice system, in line with UN Human Rights Council resolution 19/37;

n  Urging the President to stop ratifying death sentences and establish a moratorium on all executions, with a view to completely abolishing the death penalty.

 

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 27 MARCH 2013 TO:


President

His Excellency Abd Rabbu Mansour al-Hadi

Office of the President

Sana’a, Republic of Yemen   

Fax: +967 1 274 147 (please keep trying)

Salutation: Your Excellency

 

 

 

Minister of Justice   

His Excellency Murshed Ali al-Arashani

Ministry of Justice

Sana’a, Republic of Yemen   

Fax: +967 1 222 015 (please keep trying)

Email:   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Salutation: Your Excellency

 

 

And copies to:

Minister of Human Rights

Her Excellency Dr Houriah Ahmed Mashhour

Ministry of Human Rights

Sana’a, Republic of Yemen   

Fax: +967 1 444 833 (please keep trying)

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


 

 

Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date. This is the second update of UA 23/13. Further information: http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE31/001/2013/en and http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE31/002/2013/en