Unjust Death Sentence for Prodigy CEO

Mwatana Calls for an End to Using Judiciary as a Tool for Repression

Saturday, June 1, 2024
Unjust Death Sentence for Prodigy CEO

Mwatana for Human Rights, in a statement released today, called on the authorities of the Ansar Allah (Houthi) group to annul the death sentence issued by the Specialized Criminal Court in Sana’a against Adnan Al-Harazi, 51, the founder and CEO of Prodigy Company. The verdict, delivered on the morning of Saturday, June 1, 2024, sentenced Adnan Al-Harazi to death and ordered the confiscation of his funds and properties, including Prodigy Company.

On January 11, 2023, Security and Intelligence Service forces affiliated with the Ansar Allah (Houthi) group raided the premises of Prodigy Company, which specializes in monitoring and evaluation. They seized the company's servers and electronic devices and detained several employees, who were later released. However, Adnan Al-Harazi remained in detention, and his official interrogation sessions began on June 11, 2023.

The first court session of his trial was held on August 19, 2023, and the death sentence was issued during the nineteenth session of the trial. The legal proceedings, from the moment of his detention until the issuance of the verdict, were characterized by illegitimacy and a lack of adherence to the minimum standards and principles of fair trial and due process, as stipulated both nationally and internationally.

According to the indictment issued by the Specialized Criminal Prosecution against Adnan Al-Harazi, two charges were brought against him:

1- Participating in a criminal conspiracy with those working in favor of the Saudi-Emirati aggression,

2- Seeking and communicating with a foreign country at war with Yemen, specifically the United States and the United Kingdom (Britain), by contracting with international organizations and governmental bodies (including Mystral organization in the USA, the World Bank, the British Council, and Maastricht University in the Netherlands) affiliated with those countries.

Since 2006, "Prodigy" has been operating in the technical field as well as in providing third-party monitoring and evaluation services for humanitarian activities implemented by NGOs and UN agencies. The company employed hundreds of individuals, including permanent employees, contractors, researchers, drivers, and daily wage workers. The company has been suspended since January 11, 2023, i.e., after nearly 17 years of operation, despite a court order issued on December 5, 2023, mandating the reopening of Prodigy. The Specialized Criminal Prosecution and Security and Intelligence Services unlawfully prevented the implementation of this order, lacking any legal authority to obstruct the company's reopening.

In this context, Radhya Al-Mutawakel, Chairperson of Mwatana for Human Rights, said, "Since the beginning of the conflict in Yemen and their control over the capital Sana’a, the Ansar Allah (Houthis) authority has consistently used the Specialized Criminal Court as a tool for repression and intimidation, disregarding the principle of judicial independence and the rule of law, and violating all national and international legal principles and standards ensuring the right to a fair trial."

Mwatana for Human Rights previously published a research study titled "Courts for Abuse," which examined the use of specialized criminal courts by parties to the conflict as tools for oppressing opponents and punishing political adversaries. The study emphasized the need to review all verdicts issued by specialized criminal courts during the conflict period in accordance with fair trial principles and to scrutinize all violations that occurred. It also called for halting the execution of death sentences and other judgments issued during the conflict period. The study recommended that all security agencies, with all their facilities, buildings, prisons, officers, officials, and records, be subjected to the authority of the judiciary, prosecution, and inspection bodies, ensuring continuous legal oversight through effective and enforceable mechanisms in accordance with the law.

Mwatana reiterates its demand for the Ansar Allah (Houthi) group to annul the death sentence issued against the founder and director of Prodigy Company, Adnan Al-Harazi, and to cease issuing unjust and unlawful judicial rulings that violate the principles of justice. Mwatana also stresses the need to assess the performance of the Specialized Criminal Court and verify its adherence to the rights and guarantees of defendants through its practical applications, including the cases heard and the verdicts issued.