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Incentivizing criminal hobbies

The recent killing of a Saudi diplomat and his bodyguard in Sana’a has a place on the list of Yemeni shames when it comes to Saudi officials. No matter what the reasons behind the killing were and no matter whether it happened to a Saudi or a person of any other nationality living in Yemen, it remains the government’s responsibility to truly find out what happened.

The government’s failure to properly investigate crimes, assassinations, and robberies which occur in Sana’a everyday has a cause. Old files concerned with terrorism have been quietly stored away, and this has served to incentivize criminals’ actions, encouraging them to commit further crimes.

Government security institutions – namely the Interior and Defense Ministries – still don’t wish to understand that they are behind the massive spread of weapons in Yemen. Again and again, investigative committees fail to produce satisfactory reports to curb further killings; nor do they update old files for the public’s benefit.

Decrees from the investigative committees appear moments after each crime is committed, but what happens next? Nothing. The list of crimes which are buried without the release of transparent documents is nothing if not long: attempted attacks against the mediation committee in March 2011; the attacks against the Presidential Mosque last year in June 2011; the assassination of more than 63 high-ranking police officers; the attempted assassination of Yassin Saeed No’man, the Secretary General of the Communist Party; even the matter of the military plane which recently crashed and exploded was hidden away.

For the government to properly deal with ongoing assassinations, and to avoid more in the future, it must release a list covering past crimes, with the names of those individuals responsible for the crimes included. This must be followed by strict security campaigns to prevent those who carry precious lenience documents from carrying weapons in cities.