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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.




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