Fatma al-Arwali, a 34-year-old human rights advocate, is at risk of the death penalty in Yemen. The Specialized Criminal Court in Sana’a, under Huthi control, found her guilty of supposedly “aiding an enemy country” on December 5, 2023. Her trial was fraught with issues, notably the refusal to allow her legal representation. Since her arrest in August 2022, Fatma has endured multiple human rights violations by the Huthi security forces, including forced disappearance, solitary confinement, and torture.
Here’s what you can do:
Urge the Huthi de facto authorities to:
- Immediately quash the conviction and death sentence
- Ensure that Fatma al-Arwali receives a fair retrial before a competent, independent and impartial court without recourse to the death penalty, otherwise she must be immediately released with all charges dropped.
- In the meantime, ensure that she has regular access to her family and lawyer and is held in conditions meeting international standards for the treatment of prisoners.
Salutation: Dear Mohamed Abdelsalam,
His Excellency Jamal Abdullah Yahya AL-SALLAL
Embassy of the Republic of Yemen
54 Chamberlain Avenue
Ottawa, ON K1S 1V9
Tel: (613) 729-6627 Fax: (613) 729-8915
A Trial Filled with Irregularities
Fatma’s trial was anything but fair. From the moment of her arrest in August 2022, she has been subjected to a series of human rights violations by the Huthi’s security forces. These include enforced disappearance, incommunicado detention, and even torture. The trial itself was fraught with violations, raising serious concerns about the integrity of the judicial process. The absence of legal representation and the presence of numerous irregularities have cast a shadow over the legitimacy of her sentence.
The Importance of Fair Trial Standards
The case of Fatma al-Arwali underscores the vital importance of adhering to international fair trial standards, especially in capital cases where the stakes are life and death. Yemen, as a nation, is bound by its human rights obligations to ensure that anyone arrested or detained on a criminal charge is treated fairly and in accordance with the law. This includes the right to choose one’s own lawyer, access effective legal assistance from the outset, and enjoy a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent, and impartial tribunal. Unfortunately, these standards were conspicuously absent in Fatma’s case.
Amnesty International’s Stance on Unfair Trials
Since 2015, Amnesty International has documented over 60 cases of individuals facing unfair trials before the SCC in Sana’a. These individuals, ranging from journalists to human rights defenders and political opponents, were often charged with spying, a crime punishable by death under Yemeni law. Amnesty International has been a vocal critic of these trials, highlighting the lack of fairness and the trumped-up charges that characterize the proceedings.
The Global Call Against the Death Penalty
Amnesty International remains steadfast in its opposition to the death penalty in all circumstances. The organization views the death penalty as a violation of the fundamental right to life and an inherently cruel, inhuman, and degrading punishment. In line with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Amnesty International advocates for a global moratorium on executions, with the ultimate goal of abolishing the death penalty worldwide.
Fatma al-Arwali’s plight is a stark reminder of the critical need for justice and adherence to international human rights standards. It is imperative that the global community takes notice and demands fair treatment for Fatma and others in her position. The fight against unfair trials and the death penalty continues, with the hope that one day justice will prevail for all.
Please take action until March 28, 2024! The UA will be duly updated should there be the need for further action.