Sunday, September 18, 2022

A Year On, No Justice for a Yemeni Man Beaten to Death by Saudi Security Forces

A year on, no justice for late Yemeni businessman, Abdul Samad Ismail al-Mohammadi who was beaten to death by Saudi security forces in Saudi Arabia. A few days ago, al-Mohammadi’s family launched a media campaign calling for justice after all their pleas to the Saudi authorities to investigate the matter and refer the case to the Saudi judiciary fell on deaf ears. 

According to the family, the Saudi Ministry of Interior holds the case’s file, refuses to take any action against the perpetrators, and refuses to refer the case’s file to the Public Prosecution Office to initiate criminal investigation procedures.

On September 9, 2021, around 25 Saudi security forces raided al-Mohammadi’s house in Sabya city, in Jizan, in Saudi Arabia, while al-Mohammadi was there, beat him, and arrested him on possession of money from drug trade charges. 

His wife says, “the security forces raided our house and scattered our belongings while searching all over the house. They kept asking, where’s the money? where’s the money? Then they threatened me, that if I did not reveal where were we hiding the 17 million Saudi riyals they claimed we owned, they would arrest me along with my daughters, and my son who has a disability."

The wife says that the Saudi security forces severely beat her husband, al-Mohammadi inside their house during the arrest. Al-Mohammadi’s brother says that when al-Mohammadi was taken to the prison, the prison’s guard refused to let al-Mohammadi into the prison and be put in one of the cells because al-Mohammadi was completely out of consciousness, as a result of the beating. Al-Mohammadi was instead transferred to Abi Arish أبي عريش hospital in Jizan city. On September 12, al-Mohammadi died from the injuries. Al-Mohammadi’s death certificate from the hospital said that the reason for his death was torture. 

The death certificate stated that al-Mohammadi suffered from fractures and cracks in nine ribs that led to the closure of the large pulmonary arteries in the lungs. Hence, al-Mohammadi suffered from a severe failure of blood circulation. 

Al-Mohammadi's family says that the security forces' inspection did not reveal any validity to the charges directed at al-Mohammadi. 

In a media report by the Yemeni TV channel, al-Saeedah on November 9, 2021, Al-Mohammadi’s mother was interviewed during al-Mohammadi’s burial ceremony in Taiz. One of the points the mother mentioned was that the Saudi security forces confiscated al-Mohammadi’s daughters’ gold pieces of jewelry and money during the house raid. The mother is determined to get justice for her son. 

Al-Mohammadi, 47, had resided in Saudi Arabia for nearly 25 years. He was married and had six sons and two daughters. He owned and run one restaurant. Back in his hometown in Taiz, he was known for his philanthropic work inside Taiz city. 

Al-Mohammadi’s family and their lawyers have been tirelessly trying to make the Saudi authorities investigate al-Mohammadi’s death and have those who tortured him to death be held accountable. The Saudi authorities till today continue to ignore the family’s pleas. 

Since last year, my WhatsApp has been getting messages from friends of al-Mohammadi calling on all Yemeni human rights defenders to speak against the obstruction of justice by the Saudi authorities. All the details mentioned in this post are based on a call I had with al-Mohammadi’s son yesterday and a statement al-Mohammadi’s friends along with his family wrote and distributed among Yemeni journalists and human rights defenders earlier this month.