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    Human Rights Watch director, Sarah Leah Whitson (R)

    HRW Slams Yemen for Failing to Arrest Political Activist’s Killers

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    Human Rights Watch urges the Yemeni government to investigate the killing of Khaled al-Junaidi, a political activist fatally shot during a protest last month. Yemeni authorities have repeatedly failed to hold the country’s security forces accountable for serious human rights violations.

    MOSCOW, January 11 (Sputnik) — Yemeni authorities have repeatedly failed to hold the country’s security forces accountable for serious human rights violations, Human Rights Watch said Sunday, urging Sanaa to arrest the killers of political activist Khaled al-Junaidi.

    “Failing to seek justice in the killing of Khaled al-Junaidi will only fuel anti-government resentment and send a message that the security forces are beyond the reach of law,” Sarah Leah Whitson, HRW's Middle East and North Africa director, was quoted as saying on the organization’s website.

    Junaidi, a prominent figure in the South Yemen Movement, which strives for independence for the region, was fatally shot on December 15, 2014.

    The 42-year-old political activist was reportedly stopped and ordered out of his car by masked security officers when he was driving around the city of Aden to monitor anti-government protests, and then shot in the chest.

    “The Yemeni government has an abysmal record of holding security force members accountable for serious rights abuses,” Whitson stated.

    A committee has been established to investigate the murder but no arrests have been made in the case, despite several witness reports pointing toward security officers.

    Junaidi had been arrested several times by Yemeni law enforcement. Following his most recent detention, from August to November 2014, the activist told Human Rights Watch that he had been beaten and hung in stress positions by security officers while in prison.

    The situation in Yemen has been tense in recent years as several insurgent groups are operating in the country, including Sunni al-Qaeda and the opposing Houthis, a Shia movement most active in Yemen’s northern regions. Meanwhile, a popular movement demanding secession from Yemen has been active in the South, organizing numerous protests.


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