YEMEN: SCORES ON HUNGER STRIKE IN PRISON AFTER '15-YEAR-OLD' BOY SENTENCED TO DEATH
January 31, 2013: Amnesty International has expressed concern at the situation in a Yemeni prison where scores of children are on hunger strike to protest at their conditions and about a fellow inmateâs recent death sentence.
The child detainees at Sanaâaâs Central Prison launched the protest in response to the sentencing to death of Nadim al-âAzaazi on 26 January for a crime he is accused of committing when he was reportedly 15. International law forbids death sentences for people who were under 18 at the time the alleged crime was committed.
Since January 27, 77 alleged juvenile offenders have refused to eat their prison meals until the authorities comply with a list of demands made in a handwritten, signed statement which has been seen by Amnesty. In addition to cancelling the death sentences for al-âAzaazi and all juvenile offenders at the jail, the protestersâ demands include making sure children are tried in juvenile courts in swift proceedings and for an immediate end to physically humiliating exercises or punishments imposed by the prison authorities.
More than half the children who signed the statement - 42 out of 66 - have been unable to see their families while in prison because they come from areas of Yemen far from the capital. They are asking to be moved to finish their sentences in a juvenile facility closer to their home. (Sources: Amnesty International, 31/01/2013)