‘This shocking, deliberate killing appears to be an extrajudicial execution prompted by Khaled Al-Junaidi’s peaceful activism’ - Said Boumedouha
The Yemeni authorities must investigate the killing of a political activist shot dead by security forces during a peaceful protest in the southern city of Aden today, Amnesty International has said.
Khaled Al-Junaidi, a leading activist in Yemen’s separatist Southern Movement, was leading a strike in the district of Crater in Aden when he was ordered out of his car by five masked security officers and shot in the chest.
Al-Junaidi, who had previously been arrested and tortured by the security forces on account of his political activism, was overseeing the strike in Crater.
His role included documenting the protest from his car and taking photos. The car was stopped by the five masked officers, who wore official security forces uniforms and drove a security forces vehicle, in a location where officers were firing tear gas at the crowd. One of the officers shot and critically injured Al-Junaidi, who was then driven by the officers to a nearby hospital and left at the door, where he died.
Amnesty International Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director Said Boumedouha said:
“This shocking, deliberate killing appears to be an extrajudicial execution prompted by Khaled Al-Junaidi’s peaceful activism promoting independence for southern Yemen.
“The Yemeni authorities have an obligation under international law to ensure that an independent, impartial and prompt investigation into this killing is conducted, and that all those responsible are brought to justice, including anyone who ordered the killing.”
Detained and tortured before
Khaled Al-Junaidi was last released from detention on 27 November, along with fellow activist Anwar Ismail, after being held without charge for three weeks. It was the fourth time he’d been arrested over his involvement with the Southern Movement - also known as al-Hirak, a short form of its name in Arabic.
Al-Junaidi and Anwar Ismail had both previously been tortured during detention. Al-Junaidi said that on one occasion he’d spent a week hung by his wrists with handcuffs for 23 hours a day.
The Southern Movement
The Southern Movement is a coalition of political opposition groups in southern Yemen that has been demanding secession from the north of the country. Largely peaceful protests have been taking place sporadically since 2007, when retired soldiers from the south complained that they were not receiving the same treatment in employment, salary and pensions as soldiers from the north of the country. Since then, protests over discrimination against southerners have evolved into demands for secession, which continued after the ousting of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh in 2011. The government’s response to these protests has been heavy-handed, with dozens of demonstrators killed. In many cases, they appear to have been shot dead despite posing no threat to security forces or others. Since 2007, the security forces have arrested and detained, in many cases arbitrarily, thousands of demonstrators and bystanders, as well as activists.