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Yemen: Govt. Must Investigate Deaths Of Protestors

News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty International

AI-index: MDE 31/003/2003 21/03/2003

Yemen: Government must investigate deaths of protesters

Amnesty International is extremely concerned at reports of the deaths of a number of anti-war protesters in Yemen today which are said to include an 11-year-old boy. A policeman is also reported to be amongst those killed. Reports indicate that the protests began peacefully, but deteriorated when police responded with excessive force.

Amnesty International is calling on the government of Yemen to conduct a full and impartial investigation into these events.

Dozens of demonstrators are reported to have been detained and some of them subjected to beatings upon arrest. Amnesty international calls on the government to ensure that they are protected from torture and given prompt access to family and lawyers. Anyone held solely for demonstrating peacefully should be released without delay.

"It is vital that the military conflict in Iraq is not used as an excuse to clampdown on freedom of expression in the region. We must resist a backlash against human rights," the human rights organisation said.

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