August 31, 2020
Ansarullah Representative at Peace Talks
Dear Mr. Abdelsalam,
The Committee of Concerned Scientists is an independent organization of scientists, physicians, engineers and scholars devoted to the protection and advancement of human rights and scientific freedom for colleagues all over the world.
We write to express our concern for Dr. Hameed Mohammed Yahya Aklan. Dr. Aklan, 54, is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Science and Technology in Sana’a, in Yemen. He has a Masters and doctoral degrees in Medical Science and was, until January, also President of the University (and in 2019 had been appointed Chairman of the Board of Directors of the school’s Education Hospital).
He was first arrested on January 25, 2020, and charged on January 30, with “aiding aggression”, apparently because financial and electronic records of the University had been sent to the school’s owners in Aden. Dr. Aklan denied any role in this transfer of records and was released on bail on February 2, after which he was supposed to work to restore the financial and electronic records in Sana’a. On the day of this first arrest, Dr. Aklan was replaced as President of the university.
He was re-arrested on February 11, 2020, with four companions. But while his companions were released several weeks later without charges, Professor Aklan was charged again on March 4, this time with falsifying a personal identity.
It is unclear why such an esteemed scholar would be judicially harassed in this way, but we urge you to drop these charges, release Dr. Aklan, and protect academics and scholars from being drawn into the conflict between Sana’a and Aden. Even in difficult times of conflict – actually, especially in such times – academics and scholars should be free to pursue their work without hindrance, harassment, or intimidation.
Thank you for your attention to this most serious matter, and we look forward to receiving your response.
Joel L. Lebowitz, Paul H. Plotz, Walter Reich, Eugene M. Chudnovsky, Alexander Greer
Co-Chairs, Committee of Concerned Scientists
Ambassador Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak
Embassy of the Republic of Yemen
2319 Wyoming Avenue, NW
Washington DC 20008
Phone: (202) 965-4760 I Fax: (202) 337-2017