Yemen: Teenager faces execution on Saturday

President Saleh asked ‘to think again’ and spare child offender

Amnesty International has today issued an urgent appeal to Yemen's President Saleh to halt the execution of a child offender in Yemen, due be carried out on Saturday.

Hafez Ibrahim, now aged 19, is facing almost certain execution when a current three-day "stay" expires on Saturday 11 August unless Yemen’s President 'Ali 'Abdullah Saleh steps in to stop the killing. In Yemen executions are usually carried out by making the convicted person lie face down on the ground and shooting them through the heart with an automatic rifle.

Amnesty International, which opposes the death penalty in all instances, is especially alarmed at reliable reports that Hafez was under-18 at the time of the crime for which he was convicted and sentenced to death.

The organisation, which is also concerned that he was convicted and sentenced on charges of murder following serious trial irregularities, has issued an ‘urgent action’ appeal ( www.amnesty.org.uk/deathpenalty ) on behalf the teenager, and Amnesty International supporters in their thousands are expected to press for his life to be spared.

Amnesty International Secretary General Irene Khan said:

“We're urgently appealing to President Saleh to think again and stop this execution.

“We know that the president is aware of international concern that Yemen is on the verge of violating the ban on executing child offenders, and we sincerely hope that he will use his powers to stop this happening.”

Hafez's execution was scheduled for yesterday (Wednesday 8 August) but was stayed for three days on the orders of President Saleh following international appeals on behalf of the prisoner.

Amnesty International is particularly alarmed at the intention to execute Hafez Ibrahim as Yemen has for over a decade recognised the international ban on executing child offenders. In 1994 Yemen outlawed death sentences against those aged below 18 at the time of the crime (article 31 of the Penal Code, Law 12 of 1994).

Background

Hafez Ibrahim was convicted of killing a Yemeni man, Sadiq 'Ali Ismail, on 3 August 2000 in the Governorate of Ta'z in Yemen, following a quarrel.

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