Anger in Yemen erupts following Saudi execution of a Yemeni
The father of the executed Mohammed Al-Mualmi speaks to Al Mayadeen English about his last call with his son, touching on how the UN and Amnesty International should pressure Saudis to release his body.
Mohammed Abdelbaset Al-Mualmi's parents and five siblings have been waiting for his return since 2016, the year he left Yemen to find a job in Saudi Arabia. On Saturday, the Kingdom announced his execution along with two Saudi dissidents under alleged charges of "terrorism".
"Mohammed worked at farms and parks in Saudi Arabia for the last six years," his father Abdelbaset said. "They kidnapped him by the end of November 2021, between 27-30 of November".
Abdelbaset said he knew about his son's arrest on the same day from his brother who lives in the Kingdom. "My brother sent me a message via WhatsApp saying Mohammed was kidnapped after Fajr prayer and never returned."
Saudi Arabia announced on Saturday the execution of three men including a Yemeni citizen "guilty of terrorism charges," according to Saudi Press Agency.
Saudi Al-Arabiya reported that "Mohammed Abdelbaset al-Mualmi, a Yemeni national, was convicted of joining 'the terrorist' Iran-backed Houthi militia and of illegally entering the Kingdom to carry out a terrorist operation."
It added, "Mualmi was also found guilty of spying for the Houthis and for sharing the coordinates of military positions in the Kingdom with the Houthis, the Interior Ministry said, adding that a position had been targeted in Saudi Arabia from intel he had provided."
The Criminal Court sentenced all three men to death, and the verdict was approved by the Appeal Court and Supreme Court, the Ministry said.
Meanwhile, the Yemeni Insan Organization for Rights and Freedoms released a statement, condemning the executions of Al-Mualmi and two Saudi dissidents, calling on UN agencies and human rights groups to investigate Saudi violations of human rights that have become "systematic".
It added that this crime comes two months after the Saudi regime executed 81 prisoners, including seven Yemenis who were prisoners of war.
Mohammed's father told Al Mayadeen English that his son gained clandestine access to Saudi Arabia like many Yemenis who enter the Kingdom searching for jobs because they can't afford the costly visa.
"He worked there to earn and save money so he can get married," Abdelbaset noted.
"He couldn't find a permanent job because he does not have a visa, and every now and then, he continued to escape from one job to another for fear that he would be caught by Saudi authorities," he added.
Abdelbaset, the father of Mohammed, said he thought the Saudis are going to kidnap and undercharge him for illegal entry into Saudi Arabia because "he does not have a visa."
Abdelbaset said he expected the Saudis to release him because they arrested him several times and then released him.
Abdelbaset is from Utmah District of Dhamar Province, northern Yemeni capital of Sanaa. He still lives there.
"We thought it will be like the previous arrests, but this time we were surprised by the execution decision, which means they kidnapped him, tortured him to death, and refused to release his tortured body, so they created this alleged narrative," Abdelbaset told Al Mayadeen English via a phone call.
"My son Mohammed was ambitious, joyful, generous, and cherished by all of his friends and has nothing to do with politics or political affiliations," his father added in a sorrowful tone trying to hide his tears.
"Today one of his friends called me to pay respect and started to cry for 10 minutes until I closed the phone because his voice was breaking due to the excess of crying," Abdelbaset explained. "My son was loved by everyone who knew him."
He said he learned from Saudi media that the bodies of the executed persons, including his son, were buried by Saudi authorities in an anonymous cemetery. "Burial of the bodies means they tortured them to death."
On Sunday, dozens of people gathered in Dhamar Province to protest the heinous execution of Mohammed and demand the Saudi authorities to release his body.
Abdelbaset said he has four brothers living in Saudi Arabia, including one who is a permanent resident because he was born in the Kingdom.
Asked if his brothers are facing any harassment after the execution, Abdelbaset said, "Until now, they are silent because his brother-in-law went to ask about Mohammed, but Saudis detained him, and he is nowhere to be found."
He added, "I am afraid they are going to harass his family by revealing this to you [Al Mayadeen English]."
A call to release his body
Asked about his state after the execution, Abdelbaset said, "I am still in shock, I haven’t slept for two days, but still, we thank God for everything".
"The last call between Mohammed and I was two days before his kidnapping. He was telling me, 'I've visited my aunt in Riyadh because a friend found a job for me, but when I arrived here, there was nothing. Now someone has called me from Dammam saying he has found a job for me as a school driver, but I will stay for two days with my aunt, and then travel to Dammam,'" Abdelbaset told Al Mayadeen English.
Mohammed was then arrested for six months, according to his father. "If there was a fair trial, they would have allowed him to call us, or at least call his relatives in the Kingdom instead of us in Yemen, but they forcibly kidnapped him."
"I have doubts about his trial because no family member was allowed to attend the tribunal hearing; no lawyer was appointed, and the Yemeni Embassy was not informed," Abdelbaset said.
He added, "They should also have notified the embassy to appoint an envoy in order to allow and attend the execution because he is a Yemeni citizen, according to international diplomatic norms. Our embassy in Riyadh told me they had no news about him."
"I call upon the Human Rights Council and Amnesty International to do their duties. My son was kidnapped; we were not informed of his whereabouts or and they did not allow him to call us. I am afraid he was tortured to death, not executed; otherwise, they would have released his body."
"I urge the UN to pressure the Saudis to return my son's body, even if they have to exhume it."