Mass Graves Found in Sana’a: O Obama, Where Art Thou?
HOOD organization for defending Rights and Freedoms held a press conference this past Sunday discussing a case that may be new to the public, but has been the chief concern for human rights activists and organizations in Yemen. During the conference, HOOD revealed that they have been building a case investigating reported bodies found in trash cans in the Beit Bous area of Sana’a. Eyewitnesses reported that these bodies were dismembered and scattered around the residential area. The watershed moment for this case was when HOOD recently received leaked incriminating government documents further substantiating the role of the current regime in covering up crimes committed against peaceful protestors.
Since the start of the uprisings, the current regime has yet to fail in using brutal and deadly force against peaceful protestors. During marches and rallies, human rights organizations have received first hand accounts and eyewitness testimonies of mass abductions, mostly of the injured and dead. Some of these reports speak of ambulances unaffiliated with recognized hospitals, taking the injured and dead without any word or hearing from them ever again. There have been additional reports of unmarked and unlicensed cars abducting casualties. Most of the abducted have yet to be heard from, and many family members suspect that their loved ones are victims of the regime’s campaign of violence and murder; further adding to growing anxiety and rage that has become more clear by participants of the movement.
The regime has made no effort to conceal their brutality against demonstrators at moment of action. Security forces have received strict orders from their superiors to fire live ammunition and use deadly force against demonstrators. They have also been ordered to continue with their arbitrary arrests of what Saleh calls “terrorists” and “destroyers” of Yemen.
HOOD, in collaboration Human Rights Watch, and Khaled Alansi of Khaled Firm and former executive director of HOOD are continuing on with the investigation. The case has made tremendous progress as eyewitness reports are being corroborated with testimonies from physicians from the military hospital. The doctors report receiving the bodies of demonstrators by government forces, with their faces mutilated beyond recognition, so as to remain unidentifiable. In terms of utilizing dental records for identifying identity, visiting your dentist in Yemen is a luxury and is a ritual only for those wealthy enough to afford it. This hinders the identification process, and with faces mutilated, it is impossible for recognition.
Alansi states that after the April 9th march that ended in an ambush against protestors in Sana’a, he received an important call from a doctor who worked at the military hospital. The doctor confirmed that dozens of the dead and injured were brought to the their hospital the night of the ambush. In the days following, Alansi and HOOD reported receiving more calls from doctors corroborating their testimonies and further providing evidential support for the claims that were made. It is still unclear to how these demonstrators ended up dismembered and in mass graves in Beit Bous. These details have yet to be released. The investigative human rights organizations and attorneys stated they recently received official and authentic government documents substantiating eyewitness testimonies. These documents have also linked the role of the government to the once arbitrary reports of dismembered bodies; further incriminating them of their attempts at concealing their crimes.
Human rights organizations and participants of the movement hope that if the weekly reported deaths of peaceful demonstrators haven’t motivated the international community to react, this case will. Maybe mass graves and dismembered bodies will inspire President Obama to finally give a speech firmly pushing for Saleh to step down, a speech that is well OVERDUE. A speech that will bear heavy influence over Saleh’s decision to abandon his post. What is keeping Yemen’s current dictator strattled and clinging to his throne is Saudi Arabian and US support. Yemenis hope that with this horrific breaking news, their ally, the US, and the Internal community will be finally be inspired to firmly intervene and withdraw support for the current dictator and regime. If not, if the sanctity of life no longer holds value for us, than we are in big trouble. If the international community remains quite, even after this, than this further vindicates the backwards progress we’re making as a more global society. And it will further thwart our struggle to attain universal human rights and the progression of Yemen as a whole.
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