Target: Abdul-Qader Qahtan, Minister of the Interior
Goal: Ensure the fair treatment and release of Khaled al-Junaidi, a prisoner of conscience
Khaled al-Junaidi’s political views, while peaceful, are not well-received by the Yemeni government. Human rights organizations fear that this is why he has been detained without charge and held “virtual[ly] incommunicado” for weeks. The peaceful expression of political beliefs is not a legitimate cause for imprisonment. Sign the petition urging the immediate release of Khaled al-Junaidi and demanding that his human rights be respected.
Yemen as it exists today is not a very old country; in 1990, the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY) in the south united with the Yemen Arab Republic (YAR) in the north. The armies of the two nations were combined into the army of the Republic of Yemen. However, civil war in the mid-nineties led to many of the former PDRY army members’ dismissal from the republic’s armed forces. Southerners also say they are treated unfairly in comparison to northerners, and for several years there has been a movement calling for a peaceful separation between the former PDRY and YAR.
Khaled al-Junaidi is the spokesperson for the Youth & Student Movement for Freedom and Independence of South Arabia. Amnesty International reports that he is also a member of al-Hirak, or the Southern Movement, “a loose coalition of political groups, many of whom call for the peaceful separation of southern Yemen.” Al-Junaidi was arrested in the city of Aden without charge as he was making his way home one evening. Since his arrest, he has had contact with only one relative on one occasion, and he complained that he was hungry and not being given enough food. His family has not been able to communicate with him since this meeting. Aden’s General Prosecutor has already issued an order to the security forces believed to be behind al-Junaidi’s arrest calling for him to be charged with a crime or released immediately, but so far al-Junaidi remains in prison.
Add your voice to those calling for justice for Khaled al-Junaidi. Sign the petition and pressure authorities to release al-Junaidi immediately and to ensure that he is able to communicate with his family, confer with a lawyer, and have access to food and medical care for as long as he remains in custody.
I am writing to express my concern over the status of Khaled al-Junaidi, who was arrested without charge in Aden on November 6, 2013. He has not yet been charged with any crime and his family has not been allowed any contact with him, save for one brief meeting on November 12. At the meeting, al-Junaidi told the relative who came to see him that he was hungry and not getting enough food. Amnesty International suspects that al-Junaidi is being held because of his affiliations with al-Hirak and the Youth & Student Movement for Freedom and Independence of South Arabia.
Peaceful expression of political beliefs is not a crime and does not merit detention under any circumstances. I therefore demand that Khaled al-Junaidi either be immediately charged with an internationally-recognizable criminal offense or released immediately. Furthermore, I demand that his human rights, including communication with his family, access to legal representation, adequate food and medical care, and safety from torture and ill-treatment, be respected for as long as he remains in custody.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Jialiang Gao via Wikimedia Commons