Yemeni security forces accused

Human Rights Watch yesterday issued a report on abuses by security forces in connection with the protest demonstrations in southern Yemen. It also details harassment of journalists attempting to cover the protests.

Here is part of the report's summary:

The security forces, and Central Security in particular, have carried out widespread abuses in the south – unlawful killings, arbitrary detentions, beatings, crackdowns on freedom of assembly and speech, arrests of journalists, and others. These abuses have created a climate of fear, but have also increased bitterness and alienation among southerners, who say the north economically exploits and politically marginalises them. The security forces have enjoyed impunity for unlawful attacks against southerners, increasing pro-secessionist sentiments in the south and plunging the country into an escalating spiral of repression, protests, and more repression.

While the government publicly claims to be willing to listen to southern grievances, its security forces have responded to protests by using lethal force against largely peaceful protesters without cause or warning, in violation of international standards on the use of lethal force. Protesters occasionally behaved violently, burning cars or throwing rocks, usually in response to police violence ...

Security forces have made it increasingly difficult for wounded persons to obtain medical care by ordering public hospitals not to treat persons wounded at protests, stationing officers from the Political Security Organisation (PSO) and other security agencies at hospitals, and even carrying out attacks inside hospitals or seizing wounded patients from their beds. Such actions gravely endanger the lives of wounded persons, many of them unlawfully shot by the security services. 

Posted by Brian Whitaker, 16 December 2009.