Activists protest sentencing of death penalty handed down to Ibb woman
Raja Al-Hakami was first sentenced to two years in prison by an Ibb district court after killing a man who tried to break into her room and rape her. The court of appeals then upped the sentence to the death penalty.
Demonstrators asked for a finding commission to be formed to investigate the judicial role played in the Ibb appeals court and for the general prosecutor responsible to the people of this case to follow up and to file an appeal to the sentence.
In the past week, activist demands for justice have increased in Sana’a, with demonstrators also targeting the United Nations office, asking them to get involved with working toward Al-Hakami’s acquittal. Activists said Al-Hakami was acting in self-defense and that this is now a women’s human rights issue.
Nadia Abdullah, a journalist and an activist, said this case directly touches women’s rights issues, and other sensitive issues. She said activists decided to protest because if the penalty were served against Al-Hakami, it would send a green light to allow other similar cases to see a similar punishment.
Abdulrahman Barman, a lawyer for Yemeni human rights organization HOOD and who participated in the protests, said Al-Hakami’s case is a symbol of the corruption in Yemen’s justice system. He said the case is clearly one of logical self-defense.
He said there is a conspiracy in this case, and it needs media solidarity to put pressure on the Yemeni justice system to overturn the ruling.
“We hope that the punishment will change and that there will be a fair adjudication,” Barman said.