Wednesday, August 2, 2000

 

Yemen's Leading University Is Accused of Maintaining an Illegal Prison

 

The Chronicle of Higher Education, Wednesday, August 2, 2000

 

 

By BURTON BOLLAG

 

Yemen's leading university, San'a University, has an illegal jail where students, employees, and others are imprisoned for minor offenses, a human-rights group charged on Monday.

 

Mohammed Naji Alaw, chairman of the National Committee for the Defense of Rights and Freedoms, said that the university's security service was using a freight-shipping container located on the campus of the law college as a private prison.

 

The jail is one of several unofficial detention centers located around the country that were denounced by the rights organization.

According to reports by the local and international press, Yemen's president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, has ordered the allegations investigated and pledged to immediately close any such prisons.

 

Yemen's embassies in Washington and London had no information about the allegations.

 

According to Mr. Alaw, people were held at the university jail for minor violations, including using the sidewalks for street vending, and nonpayment of cleaning and municipality fees.

 

Mohammed Hatem Al-Qadhi, managing editor of Yemen Times, an English-language daily, denounced the university jail as "a flagrant violation of laws and human rights."

 

Copyright 2000 by The Chronicle of Higher Education