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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Followup 2 on Yemen "blasphemer" case

Last month, a mob burned down the house of a man in Yemen after a rumor was started that he had torn a Quran.

A week later Yemeni politicians were very upset that some of the mob were arrested for burning the man's house down. They called for the accused blasphemer to be arrested and put on trial instead.

Apparently, they got their wish. From The Yemen Observer:
In the first case of its kind in Yemen, the lawyer of the Yemeni citizen AbdulMalik al-Beidhani withdrew from the court after the judge refused to allow him access to the file of the case, or listen to the witnesses and ask them questions in the session held on Monday May 11.

The Lawyer Yasin al-Azizi told journalists that the court had dealt with his client as if he was condemned prior to his trial. “The court did not respond to my requests as a lawyer of the defendant,” said al-Azizi. He also accused the judge of administrating the trial based on prior beliefs and neglecting the defendant’s right of defense.

Al-Azizi called for the application of the law and to give the suspect legal protection as the accusations are weak and his case is of a crime that threatens public security since his home was destroyed, his property was confiscated, and his family was abused. Al-Azizi wondered what the judiciary has done about the case for those responsible for burning and completely destroying the house of the defendant’s family.

At the first session the suspect did not have a lawyer as his family had asked to defend him, but they withdrew at the last minute. However, at the first session, the suspect denied all of the accusations saying that they were fabricated by some people he had problems with. He said he believed in God, his Holy book, and the Sunnah of the Prophet Mohammed.

He strongly denied tearing or disrespecting the Holy Quran and said that the Quran is protected by Allah forever until the judgment day.

The suspect’s family complained that the prosecution and judiciary have refused to accept their complaint about the burning and destroying of their home by extremists who, according to the family, were incited by preachers of mosques particularly by the preacher of al-Anqa mosque which is located a few meters away from their home.

Over 150 extremists and citizens took part in burning and destroying the suspect family’s three storey house in al-Anqa quarter in al-Hasaba zone of Sana’a last month. On the day they destroyed the house, mosque preachers in al-Hasaba zone accused the suspect of tearing the Quran and stepping on it. They also accused him of raping several young girls, killing them and burying them in his home. They also accused his mother of running a prostitution ring in her home.

After destroying the house and the suspect was brought to the court, the attackers, headed by mosque preachers, unanimously decided to confiscate the property which the house was built on and claimed it as waqf for the al-Anqa mosque.

Yemen - where anyone with a grudge can get a mob to take care of your enemy, and get the court system to support them as well.