Yemeni Government Fails to Produce Imprisoned US Citizen Disappeared for Over 100 Days

For Immediate Release

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Reprieve's Press Office on: clemency.wells@reprieve.org.uk / + 44 (0) 207 553 8161 or in the US: katherine.oshea@reprieve.org / 001 (917) 855 8064

Yemeni Government Fails to Produce Imprisoned US Citizen Disappeared for Over 100 Days

LONDON - The Yemeni government has failed to produce an imprisoned US citizen, who has not been seen for more than 100 days, at a key hearing concerning his case.

At the hearing held today, June 11th, lawyers for Sharif Mobley filed a motion to dismiss all charges against him because of ‘outrageous state conduct’ by the Yemeni government and US agents throughout his case. However Mr Mobley, who has not been seen or heard of since 27th February, was again not produced by the Yemeni authorities. The judge expressed concern over Mr Mobley’s whereabouts and said he wanted to be “reassured of the current situation of the accused.”

The failure to produce Mr Mobley, who is from New Jersey, has raised concerns from his lawyers that he is being silenced at the behest of the US government in order to hide details of their involvement in his case. He was first kidnapped in January 2010 by unidentified gunmen from outside his house in Sana'a, shot in the leg and held incommunicado for several months. While in secret detention he was interrogated by two US agents, threatened with further abuse (including rape, and the rape of his wife) and beaten so badly he had to be re-hospitalized.
Earlier this year he was disappeared by state officials who have since refused to tell Mr Mobley’s wife - who lives in the US with their children - or his lawyers any details of his whereabouts.

In May, the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances issued an Urgent Action to Yemen and to the United States expressing their concern over the enforced disappearance of Mr Mobley. Urgent Actions call on the countries in question to take ‘appropriate measures’ to ensure that the disappeared person is not deprived arbitrarily to their liberty and right to fair legal proceedings. They are used for cases where a person "may be detained arbitrarily" and where the person may be in a "life-threatening situation".

All the initial charges of terrorism against Mr Mobley have been dropped and he is now facing murder charges relating to the death of a Yemeni police officer in the course of an alleged escape attempt.

Cori Crider, Director at Reprieve and lawyer for Sharif Mobley, said: “Today’s events were yet another example of the gross governmental misconduct that we have seen since Sharif was first kidnapped off the street, and show why this case must be dismissed. We are becoming concerned that Mr. Mobley’s disappearance is aimed at preventing information about the US’ involvement in his kidnap and abuse emerging. The authorities need to produce him immediately and drop the charges forthwith.”

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Reprieve is a UK-based human rights organization that uses the law to enforce the human rights of prisoners, from death row to Guantánamo Bay.