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From: Justice for the Britons in Yemen Campaign

Subject: Press and public information pack concerning the plight of the five
British detainees in Yemen

The aim of this press pack is to provide members of the press and
of the public with basic background information on the situation
facing the five British men detained by the Yemeni authorities, and
to outline the nationwide campaign which has been launched to
work towards their just treatment and release.


1. Contact details

2. Overview of the campaign

3. Background information on the detainees

4. Chronology of the facts of the case

5. Legal summary

6. Appendices:
- Amnesty International reports on the human rights situation in Yemen
- Amnesty International Urgent Action Appeal issued on Jan 8th
- Previous media coverage

The legal team has been instructed by the families of the detained to monitor
press reports in order to ensure the truthful portrayal of facts concerning the





Press Officer: Salma Yaqoob (0121 5580591)

Family Welfare Officer: Dr Aqeel Chaudry (0956 127434)
Campaign Hotline: 0121 7721640


Press Officers:
Afzal Amin (0958 585917)
Hanna Siurua (0171 5800916)
Rashad Yaqoob (07977 718879)


Press Officer: Dr Farooq (0973 185434)

Campaign Hotline: 0161 3743179

Legal team:

Gareth Peirce (0171 9110166)

Rashad Yaqoob (07977 718879)
Natalia Garcia (0121 2433045)

Lawyer in Yemen: Badro Basunaid

Commercial press enquiries regarding the emergency delegation:

Mandyp Singh Sehgal (07970 794175)

And what this campaign is all about

The purpose of the campaign:

We, members of the British and international public, are deeply concerned by
the grave violations of human rights committed in Yemen, as documented by
Amnesty International’s recent report. The unlawful detention and brutal
treatment, including the use of torture, of five British nationals by the Yemeni
authorities stands out as a shocking illustration of the Yemeni government’s
disregard for human rights in spite of the many international agreements
regarding their protection of which Yemen is a signatory, and in spite of
Yemen’s own constitution which rules as illegal the proceedings which have
been carried out with regard to the detainees. In view of the imminent threat of
execution faced by the detainees, we are further shocked by the British
government’s failure to offer support to the families of the detainees, and its
consistent reluctance to act in accordance with its responsibilities in order to
ensure the fair treatment of the detainees.

The goal of this campaign is to see that the fundamental human rights of the
five British men unlawfully detained in Yemen are recognised and enforced by
the Yemeni authorities; and that the British government fulfils its duty of care
both towards the detainees through the consulate in Yemen, and towards
their families in Britain through the Foreign Office. The campaign also aims to
communicate the urgency of the situation to other members of the public and
to keep them informed of the plight of the detainees.

Demands on behalf of the detainees:

1. immediate adjournment of the trial until the defence team has had sufficient
time to prepare its case

2. immediate access to full legal representation

3. immediate access to full medical care

4. immediate transfer from solitary confinement in police cells to a regular

prison, as demanded by Yemeni law

5. permission for immediate contact with family members

6. guarantees from the British and Yemeni authorities of safe passage and full
support for the emergency delegation due to depart for Yemen (consisting of
family members, independent legal observers and medical experts)

7. commitment by the Foreign Office to carry out fully its consular

responsibilities both in Britain and abroad

Background information on Gulam Hussain, Shahid Butt, Malik
Nasser, and Samad Ahmed

Gulam Hussain

Gulam was born on November 22nd, 1973, in Luton and Dunstable Hospital.
He grew up in Luton, where he attended Hillsborough Junior and Primary
Schools, South Luton High School, Luton 6th Form, Dunstable College (where
he studied Engineering for 1 year), and Luton University (where he studied
Business and Finance). He has been working as a Security Officer for ATLAW
Security in Luton for the past year. He suffers from chronic asthma.

Gulam has 3 sisters (one of whom is a twin), and 2 brothers. He met his wife
Monica 9 years ago when they both worked at a McDonald’s Restaurant in
Luton. They have been married for 6 years, and have a daughter, Hannah,
who is 1 year and 8 months old. Gulam is a family man who spends his day at
work and his evenings with his family, frequently visiting his mother and
father. He is also has a close relationship with his brothers and sisters.

Gulam flew to Yemen alone on December 18th, 1998 on a one-month visa.

His wife Monica took him to the airport. The family had been planning and
saving up for a holiday together for a year, and they chose Yemen from a
travel brochure. They had heard of Yemen because many students from
Leeds University spend time there as part of their studies; in addition, they
preferred an Arabic-speaking country which would enable Gulam and Monica
to improve their knowledge of Arabic. Gulam travelled out first in order to
ascertain that the environment and weather would be suitable for Hannah,
who suffers from eczema which can be aggravated by hot weather. In
addition, Monica had exam resits which prevented her from travelling out with
her husband. On December 23rd, Gulam called Monica to let her know that
the place was fine, and that Monica and Hannah could join him as soon as
possible. The family has not heard from him since.

Shahid Butt

Shahid was born in Pakistan on November 25th, 1965, and came to Britain
(which was the permanent home of his family) four months later. He grew up
in the Sparkhill and Balsall Heath areas of Birmingham. He has 1 brother and
1 sister; his mother passed away in May 1998. He attended Highgate
Secondary School and helped out in the family’s grocery store in his free time.
He also attended Birmingham Polytechnic to do Business Studies, and
worked part-time for DFS during that time. Shahid held a variety of clerical
jobs in offices, including working for Allied Dunbar (as a claims handler) and
for Legal and General. In his free time, Shahid was actively involved in
voluntary work in the community. He set up a youth club at Birmingham
Central Mosque and worked actively in an anti-drugs project in the notorious

Walford Rd and Alum Rock areas in Birmingham. 3 years ago Shahid joined
the international charity Convoy of Mercy as a projects coordinator; the charity
sends humanitarian aid supplies (including food and medicines) to emergency
areas. He set up a second-hand clothes project to raise funds for the charity.

Shahid has been married to his wife Ruby for 10 years, and they have four
children, ranging in age from 9 years to 1 year. Shahid enjoys travelling and
had long planned a holiday to the Middle East; he chose Yemen because of
his interest in its ancient culture, and because he wanted a more adventurous
destination. He also wanted to witness the country’s human rights situation, of
which he was concerned. He left for Yemen on the last week of November,
1998, planning to return no later than a week before Eid (January 18th). He
asked his brother Rashid to look after his family during his absence, and
called home frequently to ensure that they were fine. The last such call was
made on December 22nd, 1998; since then, his family has not heard from

Malik Nasser

Malik was born on September 22nd, 1972, in Yemen where his mother had
been on holiday towards the end of her pregnancy; she had been unable to
return to England before giving birth as she had planned. When Malik was 2
months old and physically ready to travel, his mother took him back to Britain;
he had not been back to Yemen until now.

Malik’s family lives in Birmingham, where Malik attended Marlborough Junior

School and Saltley Secondary School. He studied at Westminster University
in central London for five years and got a BSc in Information Systems
Engineering. During his studies, he worked part-time at Garretts Green
Bakery; after his graduation, he was unable to find employment in his field
and decided to go to Yemen with his mother for an extended holiday to meet
relatives from his father’s side.

Malik and his mother flew to Yemen on July 3rd, 1998. His mother paid for the
tickets. They stayed with relatives in Yafi village and in Aden, until Malik’s
mother had to return because of family commitments on August 20th. Malik
was due to stay for a few months longer in order to stay with his relatives and
to travel; he was planning to return to the UK on January 18th. The family last
heard from him on December 20th.

Samad Ahmed

Samad was born on June 11th, 1977, in Marston Green Hospital in Chelmsley
Wood. He went to school in Birmingham and achieved 9 GCSEs and 3 A-
Levels (in Geography, History, and Gen. Studies). He attended Kingston
University and spent his spare time studying, socialising with friends, and
working part-time as a security guard. Samad has 2 brothers.

Samad left for Yemen on December 18th via London. He was planning to go
for a month’s holiday and possibly attend a friend’s wedding there; in addition,
he was hoping to pick up some Arabic. He paid for the ticket with savings from
his part-time job, and with contributions from his family. He was planning to
return to the UK by January 18th, 1999, to celebrate Eid with his family.
Samad called home on December 22nd to let his family know he had arrived
safely and was well. His family has not heard from him since.




Mohsin Ghalain d.o.b. 11.07.80 British

Samad Ahrned d.o,b. 11.06.77 British
Ghulam Hussein d.o.b. 22.11.73 British
Malik Nasser Harhra d.o.b. 22.09.72 British
Shabid Butt d.o.b. 25.11.65 Britiah

24.12.98 Arrests of 5 Britons In Yemen.

29.12.98 One family informs British Authorities that their relative is detained.
They receive no response.

07.01.99 Yemeni authorities inform Foreign Office that Britons are held.

07.01.99 Gareth Peirce in London and Badro Basunaid in Yemen, by the


08.01.99 Amnesty International issues Urgent Action.

David Pearce, British Consul, sees Ghulam Hussain, Shahid Butt and
Samad Ahmed (under severe restrictions – see below).

Gareth Peirce phones the Consul who says he is in the process of

briefing Mr Atkinson of the Foreign Office who will ring her shortly.
Mr Atkinson telephones and states that the condition of these three
detainees the Consul has seen was good with complaints limited in the
past week of detention to lack of light at night, mosquitoes and lack of
reading matter. None appeared, he said, to have been told why he was
detained and none had been very badly beated. Each sent messages to
his family. He said Samad Ahmed reported that in the first week he
had been very badly beaten, having been tied upside down beaten, but
that latterly he was treated quite well. He informed Gareth that 8 -10
other people were present when he saw the men and that no private
visit had been allowed.

09.01.99 Gareth Peirce, Rashad Yaqoob and family members meet with Mr
Atkinson at the F0 only after demonstrating outside with supporters.

David Pearce sees another detainee, Mohsin Ghalain.

10.01.99 Gareth Peirce and Mahmud Al-Rashid, Chairman of AML meet with

Mr Jim Atkinson (deputy Head, Consular Section, Foreign &
Commonwealth Office) and Mr Edward Clay, (Director, Public
Services, F & CO). Mr Atkinson has him faxed notes sent by the
Consul. These are read out and contain far more detail than was
conveyed to Gareth in the phone call on 08.01.99. The details that were
not previously disclosed were:

a) General Tourek, Head of Security in Aden, was present at each interview

(including Mohsin Ghalain on 09.01.99) and that amongst the 8 –10 others also
present were “note takers” and “interpreters”.

b) General Tourek engaged in questioning each detainee in the Consul’s presence.

c) Shahid Butt had also complained to the Consul of ill treatment in the first week,
which included bein ghit, slapped, blindfolded and made to sign a paper and
that he, Mr Butt, had complained to the Yemeni Attorney-General of this ill

d) More details of Samad Ahmed’s account of ill treatment – he complained of

torture, of being tied upside down and having the soles of his feet beaten and
that in his conversation with Mt Pearce his behaviour seemed “hyper”.

e) All of the detainees had asked from the outset for access to a lawyer, to their
Embassy and that they might have contact with persons outside. None had been
allowed for almost 3 weeks until this first Consular visit.

They are also informed that Mohsin Ghalain had also informed the Consul that
he had been assaulted at the start “to make him talk”. He also said that
conditions were now considerably improved; however Mr Pearce noted that he
appeared “lethargic” and that his skin was “yellowish”, a condition that could
have been coused by a liver complaint in relation to which he said that he had
been X-rayed in England. Answers had to be “drawn out of him”.

12.01.99 David Pearce sees Malik Nasser Harhra (previously denied access on the
basis that the Yemeni authorities claim he is Yemeni by virtue of his
birth in Yemen, although he holds a British passport and left Yemen
aged 2 months). During the interview there were about 10 Yemeni
officials present. The interview was required to be conducted through
police interpreter. Malik’s family state that he speaks very little Arabic
and not very well. Mr Pearce said that he looked physically well and
said that he had not been tortured.

15.01.99 Detainees are charged.

Mr Badro Basunald, the lawyer in Aden instructed by the families.

family sees the detainees. Goes to the police station as soon as he is

notified but Mohsin Ghalain already charged when he gets there. Not
allowed to speak to him but does see him. Sees and speaks to Shahid
Butt, Malik Harha and Samad Ahmed, but not in private. All three
despite police presence say that they have been tortured from the first
day of detention and deny any involvement in what they were charged
with. “Confessions” had been extracted by torture. Mr Basunald
requested that all be transferred immediately to the central pricon in

Mr Basunaid returns to the police station later when the other two (1
French) are to be charged. The French national also says that his
confession is false and obtained under torture. Ghulam Hussein denied
the charge and said that he had been told by the interpreter that “Some
people give in within 4 hours and some within 4 days”.

The charge that Mr Basunaid was shown was alleged involvement in

an armed gang to carry out killings and the causing of explosions, he
has been refused copies of the “confessions” and has been shown a
number of alleged “exhibits” but, again, has had no opportunity to
examine them properly.

23.01.99 Mr Basunaid sees all the detainees together briefly, all deny charges
and ALL state they have been tortured.

24.01.99 Trial date set for Wednesday 27.01.99.

Full trial hearing to go ahead despite the fact that the lawyer in Yemen
has not had proper access to them, they have been tortured and have
made confessions (since retracted) under duress, the British Consul has
not had full access to them and medical assistance has been totally
denied to them. They were only charged after the torture and
“confessions”. In these circumstances there is no chance of a fair trial.

25.01.99 Emergency delegation leaves for Yemen. It consists of family

members, lawyers, doctors and of communication representatives.

26.01.99 Emergency delegation arrives in Aden via Sana’a. The lawyer in

London, Rashad Yaqoob meets with Yemeni ambassador in London in
order to secure visas for the delegation already in Yemen.

27.01.99 The trial starts and is adjourned until 31. January. The family members
are granted permission to meet the detainees for the first time. And
independent medical examination is still not allowed.



Mohsin Ghalain d.o.b. 11.07.80 British

Sarmad Ahmed d.o.b. 11.06.77 British
Ghulam Hussein d.o.b. 22.11.73 British
Malik Nasser Harhra d.o.b. 22.09.72 British
Shahid Butt d.o.b. 25.11.65 British

The following Articles of the Constitution of the Republic of Yemen have been
breached to date:

Article 6 - The State shall abide by the United Nations Charter, the
Universal Declaration on human rights, the Arab League charter and the universally
recognized rules of international law. This article has been ignored completely.

Article 47 (b) - No person whose freedom is restricted, shall be subject to physical,

psychological or mental torture. All five Britons have been tortured.

Forced confession during interrogation shall be forbidden. All five Britons have
confessed under dress and have retracted their confessions.

A person whose freedom is restricted shall have the right to remain silent except at
the presence of a lawyer of his choice. All five have been denied access to legal
advice and assistance and have been questioned, mistreated, and confessions obtained
with no lawyer present, although they have demanded full legal representation from
the outset.

No person shall be detained in custody or imprisoned in places other than those governed by
the provisions of the Prison Law. All five have been kept in solitary, cramped and dirty police
cells in Aden police station since 24.12.1998, despite repeated requests to be moved to a
prison with proper facilities.

Torture and inhumane treatment during arrest, detention and imprisonment shall be
prohibited All five have experienced torture and inhumane treatment.

Article 47 (c) – Any person suspected of committing a crime and detained in custody shall be
produced before a magistrate within a period of twenty-four (24) hours of his arrest and be
informed of the grounds for such arrest, given the opportunity to make representation against
the detention order, and immediately an order shall be issued to determine whether or not the
said person shall be remanded in custody or released. None of this has been adhered to.

Under no circumstances shall the prosecution order the detention beyond the said period
without the authority of a magistrate. It is not clear on what basis their continued detention in
police cells has been authorised.

Article 47 (d) - A person detained for any reason in custody or remanded in custody in
pursuance of an order from a court of law shall have the right to inform any other person of
his choice, and, if he fails to choose, his kin or those concerned shall be notified. They have
not been allowed to contact anyone.

Article 47 (e) - Physical and psychological torture exercised during arrest, detention or
imprisonment is hereby a crime punishable by law and shall not be dropped with the passage
of time. It appears that this crime is committed as a matter of course.

Article 48 - The right to have counsel for the defence in person or by proxy shall be
guaranteed during all stages of investigation and trial according to law. Full and proper
access to a solicitor has been continuously denied.



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