13-yr-old protestor jailed and tortured in Yemen speaks out

Published July 18th, 2012 - 09:13 GMT
Naharri shows off his scars
Naharri shows off his scars

Naharri Mohammed Ali Naharri, 13, from Rima governorate, was missing for 14 months after disappearing during Blood Bank demonstrations on May 11, 2011.

There was evidence of torture on different parts of Naharri’s body, and he spoke of a long period in solitary confinement.

The Yemen Times met Naharri at the SYAJ Organization for Childhood Protection, where he narrated his story.

Naharri said that men took him and four or five other boys his age from the Blood Bank demonstration, close to Sana’a’s Change Square.

"I didn't know anything until I got to the prison because they covered my eyes," he said.

Naharri said he knew he was tortured because while in the prison, he found pieces of his skin, cut ears and a small part of his finger.

A man entered to clean the room where he was being held, and then he left the room after hitting him.

Naharri described people who took him as dark-skinned and wearing civilian clothing. He said they always covered their faces with cloth, and they called each other by saying "Hey," while talking in an Adeni dialect.   He said he was not harmed for the first four days of captivity, but the situation changed as the days passed.

He received one piece of bread for breakfast, a piece of bread and beans for lunch and half a bottle of water each day.

Once per week, a shower was allowed.

Naharri exposed parts of his body subjected to abuse: his knee, his wrist, his head, his ears, all bruised. There were cigarette burns on his back.

"Electric shocks, stabbings with knives and daggers, there were all used while they tortured me." He said they called him corrupted and subversive when they hit him.

"My eardrum was hurt when they slapped me strongly, and it’s not until now that I can match my teeth normally." No medical treatment was offered to Naharri. He cleaned his wounds using his own clothing.

Naharri said he doesn't know the area where he was being held.

"It was a ground floor. There were no voices of people or cars, just the voices of the guards," he said.

He remembered hearing other children, their voices tortured. It was impossible to talk with them and have personal conversations, but once a week, under observation, they were able to play cards together for a short time.

He said the only name he remembers is Abdul-Elah Al-Khelafi. He heard the name while listening to guards talking about releasing him. This was in Sira, Aden.

Naharri said before his release, which occurred in the dead of night, he had bread and tea for dinner, and it was the first day they offered him this kind of food. After eating, he immediately fell asleep.

"I felt that I was in a van and hardly realized that there were other children with me," he said.

The horn from a lorry awoke him, and by reading a large sign, he discovered that he was in Dammt district.

"I found my mobile in my pants, which they took before, but without battery or credits.” Naharri said that he sold his mobile, bought clothes and used the rest of his money to travel back to Sana’a.

"I reached to Al-Makalleh souq and walked back home.” Naharri said that, upon his return, he had trouble remembering his younger brothers’ names as well as the telephone numbers of his family members.

SYAJ Organization for Childhood Protection is following up Naharri's case to get more details, as well verifying the legitimacy of what happened, according to Ahmed Al-Qurashi, head of the organization.

"If the case is real, all the steps to follow up the case in the judicial authorities will start to find the criminals,” he said.


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