Somali Convert in Yemen Transferred to Immigration Jail

U.N. agency proposing emergency resettlement for Christian convert from Islam.

A former Muslim on trial in Yemen for the capital offense of apostasy failed to appear before Aden's First Court in Tawahi as scheduled Wednesday.Defense lawyers of Mohammed Omer Haji, 27, were told by the presiding judge that the Somali refugee's case in the southern port city of Aden remained "in the hands of the attorney general."Yemeni government sources have reportedly told a U.N. agency in the capital city of Sana'a that a deportation order had been issued against the convert, who was transferred to Aden's Immigration Jail Monday."There was no hearing, absolutely nothing," Haji's court-appointed lawyer, Mohammed Abdulkarim Omarawi, told Compass from Aden. "So the case is going on without any hearing," he said. "I think the chief prosecutor is looking for a compromise."According to Omarawi, an out-of-court settlement of the case would be "better for our country, better for the prosecutor, and me, and better also for the accused."As a refugee registered under the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) office in Aden, Haji agreed last week to be represented by a UNHCR lawyer sent from Sana'a to take up his brief in cooperation with Omarawi.Although the UNHCR reported Haji was transferred to the Immigration Jail at Crater from Aden's Central Mansoora Jail on July 17, Omarawi said he had not been able to confirm his client's whereabouts. He said he would visit both prison facilities tomorrow to try to see Haji."But I have hope," Omarawi said. "If they bring him to court, they have to give a judgment. If they don't bring him, and there's no hearing, it means they are ready to send him out."According to Anoushiravan Daneshvar, UNHCR representative in Sana'a, Haji's proposed emergency resettlement file was completed ...

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