Target: Murshed Ali al-Arashani, Minister of Justice
Goal: Ensure a fair retrial for a security guard whose death sentence has been overturned
When armed men attacked the home of his employer, security guard Ahmed Omar al-Abbadi al-Markashi was among those who returned fire. He was subsequently charged with murder and sentenced to death after an unfair trial riddled with what Amnesty International terms “irregularities.” Although his death sentence has been overturned, Ahmed al-Markashi still needs help. Sign the petition and urge Yemeni authorities to ensure that al-Markashi’s retrial is a fair one, and that legal proceedings in Yemen are held to the highest standards of accountability.
Al-Markashi worked as a security guard for Hisham Bashraheel, the editor-in-chief of al-Ayyam, a newspaper based in Yemen’s capital. The authorities tried on numerous occasions to shut down the paper, likely because it provided coverage of anti-government protests. In February 2008, a group of armed men believed to be sent by the authorities attacked Bashraheel’s home, shooting at security officers. Ahmed al-Markashi returned fire and killed one of the attackers. He was charged with murder and sentenced to death.
Luckily, the Yemeni Supreme Court recently ordered a retrial, noting that al-Markashi was unfairly disadvantaged throughout the legal process: witness testimonies were misrepresented as proof of premeditation, the murder weapon was not examined thoroughly, and the investigation into the death did not adequately examine the possibility that al-Markashi was acting in self-defense. Perhaps the most shocking miscarriage of justice, however, was when the case went to the Court of Appeals: neither al-Markashi nor his lawyer were given advance notice of the hearing, and neither were present.
It is encouraging that the Supreme Court has recognized these glaring issues in al-Markashi’s case and has ordered a retrial. However, it is paramount that the authorities take pains to ensure that, this time around, al-Markashi receives a fair trial. Sign the petition and urge authorities to ensure justice for Ahmed al-Markashi, and for all those affected by the legal process in Yemen.
I am writing to commend the Yemeni Supreme Court for its decision to retry the case of Ahmed Omar al-Abbadi al-Markashi. While the retrial is certainly a positive step, I urge you to ensure that al-Markashi’s case does not encounter the same legal pitfalls this time around.
Ahmed al-Markashi’s original trial was riddled with inconsistencies and issues, from the investigation–which did not adequately examine the possibility that al-Markashi acted in self-defense–straight through to the appeal, which neither al-Markashi nor his lawyer were informed of or present for. Ideally, the retrial should correct and compensate for these problems, but in reality it is entirely possible that al-Markashi’s second trial process will be subject to the same problems that plagued the first.
I urge you to ensure that Ahmed al-Markashi receives a fair trial, and to make sure that all legal proceedings in Yemen are held to the highest standards of accountability.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: InkSm3ar via deviantART