I don’t know how or why an unknown woman awaiting a death sentence in a foreign jail should suddenly capture someone’s attention. I cannot give you a logical answer as to why she, out of the many millions that need our humanitarian help, should be singled out for our attention.

Yet Amina Ali Abduladif has been singled out in this way and, therefore, we are faced with her presence here on Booman Trib at this moment in time.

I have no photograph of this woman, no appealing photograph of her two year old son looking into the lens of a camera. I only have her name.

Amina Ali Abduladif

I wouldn’t know this woman’s name if Susanhu hadn’t asked me, a bit irritatingly at the time because I was in the middle of a diary, to save a few dimes on a transatlantic call by telephoning Amnesty International in London on her behalf to  get some more information. Now I am stuck with this woman, this Amina Ali Abduladif.

I would like to walk away, pass her by on the other side of the road, but I can’t.

Well, I’m sorry because I have now stuck you with her name. Blame Susanhu, not me, and the diary that she wrote.

Who is Amina woman? Well, I got this information from Amnesty’s files:

YEMEN: Amina Ali Abdulatif (f), aged 21

Amina Ali Abduladif is reportedly scheduled to be executed on 2 May. She was reportedly sentenced to death when she was 16 years old, although the Yemeni Penal Code expressly prohibits the use of the death penalty against anyone convicted of crimes committed when they were under 18.

She was convicted of the murder of her husband, who had been killed in January 1998, and sentenced to death on 24 May 1999. She had reportedly been tortured to force her to confess, and has since maintained her innocence. Muhammad Ali Said Qaba’il was also sentenced to death for the murder, but it is not known when he is scheduled for execution

The court of appeal did not consider Amina’s age, and upheld the sentence in July 2001. The Supreme Court upheld the sentence in July 2002, and the sentence was ratified by the president shortly afterwards.

Not long after the president ratified the sentence, Amina Ali Abduladif was, according to her lawyer, put before a firing squad. It was only when the executioners noticed that she was pregnant that the execution was stopped. According to her lawyer she had been raped by one of the guards at al-Mahaweet prison. As a result she gave birth to a child, who is with her in Sana’a Women Central prison, where she is now held, and is now very nearly two years old.

I have three problems in not being able to walk away from this issue.

The first is that I have a lot of respect for Susanhu, one of our best diarists. I respect her not just because she writes well and  has a good sense of what is right and what is decent but because she tries to do more than just blog at it. She tries to actively make a difference. That makes me feel a little bit guilty. Hell, I am not even a member of Amnesty International, like I should be if I am a true liberal progressive.

Sue managed to get the support of two others to take an interest in this woman when she wrote her diary here. This is a start but not enough.

The second problem that I have is that I can’t convince myself that I won’t make a difference. I’ve tried, without success. I’ve asked myself if it is right to interfere in another country’s judicial procedure, how do we know the real background, aren’t there more important issues?

None of these questions give a substantial enough answer to allow me to now walk past Amina.

The third and last problem that I have comes from reading the latest update from Amnesty that says action now is urgent, important and can make a huge difference:

The Attorney General in Yemen has reportedly appointed a “special committee” to review Amina Ali Abdulatif’s case. One of the aims of the review is to investigate whether Amina was indeed under 18 when she allegedly committed the crime. Her execution will be stayed until the committee submits its findings on the case to the Attorney General, who will then review her sentence. The Attorney General can recommend that the President commutes or ratifies her
death sentence.

So I can’t walk by and leave Amina. Can you? There are very many of us here on Booman Tribune Sue got two responses fom on here and Daily Kos originally. Can we show that we can do better than that? Can One or two more of us not walk past Amina because we have an urgent comment to post on the Anne Coulter criticising thread?

Within the space of time that it takes to post a comment on here, you can make a difference If you are from the USA you can send an email to  ambassador@yemenembassy.org and in Europe you can contact the Yemen Embassy in London at  info@yemenembassy.org.uk or the embassy in your own country.

Please send a copy to the respected Editor of The Yemen Times at yementimes@yementimes.com

I shall be sending a simple email:

Re:Amina Ali Abduladif

Dear Ambassador

I would be very grateful if you would bring to the attention of your Government the very deep concern that I and many of my friends and colleagues have over the death sentence passed in regard to Amina Ali Aduladif.

In expressing this concern, we do so humbly, conscious that there are many instances where my own country has acted without proper regard for the humanitarian consideration of cases brought to trial. We cannot ignore, however, that Amina Ali Abduladif was just fourteen when the alleged crime was committed and that she is now the mother of a two year old child.

We hope that your country, whom we hold in respect, will feel able to exercise clemency in this case.

Yours sincerely

Keith Barratt  

That took me a fraction of the time to write that it took to blog this diary. And it meant that I didn’t walk by Amina.

Please leave a short comment on here if you feel able to send an email and also not walk by. It is quite a challenge for all of us, but think what an impact we could all make.

You may like to also privately email Susanhu, who is planning more personal responses to help in the plight of this woman and her child.

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