This information was recently compiled from testimonies received from victims, eyewitnesses, medical personnel, and informants. Keep in mind this is only a compilation of confirmed testimonies and includes stats from Sana’a only. The list is actually much longer. As HOOD receives more testimonies, this list will be updated.

This is NOT a list of those who have lost their lives. I will post that up soon in a separate post.

The names of most eyewitnesses listed below have not been released because they requested anonymity out of fear for their lives.  If you represent an international human rights organization and would like more information, please contact HOOD.

__________

February

11 detained

March

91 detained

*Total released for both months is 90

__________

April

200 detained

100-150 released

  • Tamim Alamrani walked into HOOD’s office in Sana’a and provided testimony. He witnessed an armored vehicle run over the bodies of four demonstrators. Security forces carried away the bodies and washed the asphalt.
  • During the march to Kentucky round, witnesses said more than fifty bodies, injured and dead,  were carried into private cars by security forces.
  • One eyewitness videotaped the demonstration at Kentucky and witnessed eight people get shot. He passed out from the nerve gas and was taken to the field hospital, where his camera was stolen.
  • One eye witness was rounded up with about 70-80 other demonstrators by security forces. They were taken into trucks and driven to  a private home.  There, they were interrogated about their protest activities. One victim was severely beaten and passed away. After about 24 hours, nurses entered the room and injected them with shots. They passed out and when they awoke found themselves lying on Hayel street in Sana’a.
  • Human rights attorney Khaled Alenesi says he was almost run over by security forces during a march in Rowayshan, Sana’a.
  • A young child, believed to be about ten, was shot by security forces. He was hit in the head and taken to the front yard of a private home. A woman ran outside the home to protect the boy’s body but a struggle ensued between her and “balatajia”, or paid thugs. They eventually were able to take the body away.

*1,500 were injured during the April 9th demonstration in Kentucky alone.

__________

MAY

60 detained

10-15 released

  • May 11: Four sympathetic central security officers witnessed 100-200 people get taken to the Military hospital. Most were injured.
  • Six demonstrators camped out in Zara’a street, Sana’a. Security forces showed up and opened fire. Five went missing, the sixth was injured and taken to the makeshift hospital.
  • As he was exiting Change Square at around 8pm, an activist was approached by three men from national security. They asked him questions about the regime and pretended to be sympathizers with the opposition. They followed him to an Internet café, where he was getting poems printed to be used at future demonstrations. As he walked out of the office, they threatened him with guns and told him to get into a car that was waiting outside. Once in the car, they blindfolded him and drove him to an unknown location, where he was tortured with electrical devices, wires, cigarette burns, and chains. They accused him of illegally distributing guns to people. They forced him to sign a confession, blindfolded him again and transferred him to a hospital.
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Prominent human rights attorney Khaled Alanesi says it is now state policy to kidnap dead and injured protesters in an effort to conceal crimes committed against peaceful demonstrators. I met with Alanesi in his tent today, located inside Taghyeer “Change” Square, the name given to the area outside of Sana’a University. Thousands of protesters have set up tents there and plan on remaining until Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemen’s ruler of 33 years, steps down.

Alanesi is working with HOOD, a human rights NGO based in Yemen, to build a case against Saleh to present to the international community. In a major press conference held yesterday at Change Square, a spokesman for HOOD announced that they were in possession of leaked government documents which show that dozens of corpses of protesters were buried in mass graves and disposed of in trash bins throughout the Beit Bous area of Sana’a.

According to Alanesi, this became normal protocol for Saleh’s security forces soon after the March 18 demonstration, now known as Bloody Friday. On that day, fifty-two demonstrators were gunned down by police and snipers during a peaceful demonstration after they had finished completing the Friday prayers. Saleh’s regime faced severe international backlash for the incident. Since then, protesters have gone missing after each organized march.

HOOD is currently conducting interviews with eyewitnesses. Some of these testimonials belong to medical personnel who work at the Military hospital, which is run by Saleh’s son Ahmed Ali . Others come from demonstrators who hid during the kidnappings. What they all reveal is that Saleh’s security forces are engaged in a deadly game of deception.

Alanesi notes that the regime has been quick to exploit differences among the opposition groups. The existence of a power-struggle between the youth bloc and opposition organizers is widely known. Their disagreements range from the role of women in protests to whether a march should be held on a particular day. One such disagreement ended with the disappearance of dozens of protesters.

On April 9, the youth decided to march against the wishes of opposition organizers. Alanesi says on that evening, government agents dressed in civilian clothes approached the youth pretending to be protesters. “They told the youth that organizers were hijacking their movement. We have a formal committee that has to approve all demonstrations. These infiltrators were telling them that they had no control. They were being manipulated.”

About five hundred youth decided to march that night at the encouragement of these agents. They marched toward an area called Kentucky round. Once there, they found policemen along with state-funded thugs known as “baltajia” waiting for them. They, along with the undercover agents trapped protesters from both ends of the juncture. What happened next would set the precedent for how security forces would conduct themselves at later demonstrations.

Having trapped protesters, Saleh’s men shut off the electricity to the area. When the lights went out, the bloodshed began. Officers opened fire on trapped protesters. As the dead and injured fell, bodies were grabbed into unmarked cars and immediately driven away. When protesters failed to return home that night, some of the families headed to Change Square to look for their loved ones but got no straight answers.

Alanesi says he received a call from a doctor who worked at the Military hospital a few days after the ambush. The doctor confirmed that dozens of corpses and injured protesters were brought to the hospital the night of April 9th. Over the next few days, more doctors would contact Alanesi and HOOD describing what they witnessed. Some said injured protesters were being beaten. “Doctors would take injured protesters and place them in emergency rooms even if their injuries were minor because they wanted to protect them from the officers.”

Doctors revealed that corpses were being brought to the hospital with mutilated faces to the point where corpses were beyond recognition. Unable to identify the dead, medical personnel would fill in “unknown” on death certificates. Bodies would then be taken to a mortuary and from there, placed in mass graves. Other corpses were dismembered and disposed of in garbage bins.

Soon people began to talk. Beit Bous residents were making grim discoveries of body parts in their wells and garbage bins, and more and more eyewitnesses were coming forward. Sources from the makeshift hospital tell me that ambulances were now showing up with the baltajia at demonstrations. According to Alanesi, ambulances are normally sent by the Science and Technology hospital. But protesters were saying that they did not recognize these ambulances. There were also cars showing up with the insignia of the Red Crescent and missing license plates. They would wait for the injured and dead to fall and then drive the bodies away. Alanesi confirmed that the Red Crescent does not have any vehicles in Yemen.

HOOD has so far released one government document written by a prosecutor to his superior. Dated April 27, it requests an investigation into the remains discovered in Beit Bous. On the same document, the director responds with a rejection, stating that bodies had already been buried. According to Alanesi, the speed with which Yemeni authorities disposed of bodies and the fact that no autopsies were conducted point to a cover-up. “This is not standard procedure, to bury bodies without conducting an investigation. They were trying to cover up crimes.”

HOOD is calling for an independent investigation by the United Nations. Last week, the UN agreed to send a mission to Yemen to investigate state violence against protesters. According to Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Saleh tried to postpone their arrival until June. “They suggested we visit at the end of June; we would like to go rather earlier than that, and we stand ready to deploy as soon as we can.” Alanesi believes Saleh is biding time in order to get rid of evidence and with the hopes that a favorable deal will be reached granting him full legal immunity.

Some of the families of victims say that since the UN announcement, they’ve been approached by Yemeni authorities who are asking them to waive an investigation in exchange for monetary compensation.

Meanwhile, activists announced this month a plan to to escalate their demonstration activities. Eighteen cities and towns have launched a civil disobedience campaign. Closures of schools, shops and government buildings are planned twice weekly until Saleh steps down. The decision to escalate protests comes at the heel of the Gulf Cooperation Council’s recent meeting in Riyadh, which failed to come up with a resolution. The GCC has been trying to mediate between Saleh and the opposition for months now. Qatar recently pulled out of the GCC initiative, blaming Saleh for the stalemate.

In Sana’a, the first phase of the escalation plan was met with deadly force. At least ten protesters were killed in a march towards the government’s offices on May 11. Hundreds more were injured by live rounds and tear gas. The makeshift hospital became overwhelmed with casualties and appealed to local hospitals to help with the injured. The US released a statement the next day condemning the violence and insisting that Saleh agree to a transition plan immediately.

“This transition must begin immediately in order for the Yemeni people to realize their aspirations for a brighter, more prosperous and democratic future,” spokesman Mark Toner said in a statement.

Saleh’s response the next day was a vow to “confront a challenge with a challenge.” In a speech, he warned the opposition to “stop playing with fire.”

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