They killed him, tried to kidnap his body, prevented mosques from praying over him, and arrested mourners. “Amjad .. The powerful killers have not been held accountable”

Context of the story

Amjad Abdurrahman

 Violation Time: May 14 , 2017

Violation location : Aden

Violation type: Assassination/Killing

The perpetrator of the violation: Security Belt/Camp Twenty

Months before his death, Amjad Abdurrahman and his colleagues organized a stand rejecting the demolition of an ancient mosque in Aden. After his death, the killers prevented mosque imams from praying for him on the grounds that he was a secularist seeking to spread atheism and immorality. They were disturbed by the strong visibility and influence that Amjad had in leading a cultural movement during a critical and complex period in Aden in 2017.

The young man was only 24 years old at that time, and Aden was living in an atmosphere of hot conflict between the components and armed factions that were able to expel the Houthi militants with the support of the Arab coalition. In that period, the policy of polarization led to the strengthening of extremist militants on the land of the oldest cities of the Arabian Peninsula. The political agenda mixed with military calculations and extremist ideology, and was able to be present publicly in the three stages of targeting Amjad Abdurrahman: before the killing, during the killing, and after the killing, and no one held them accountable.

The Free Media Center for Investigative Journalism relied on various sources closely related to the events that preceded his death, including one of his friends who was chased. As for the events that occurred after the assassination of Amjad, we followed from one of the journalists who were arrested after visiting Amjad’s father to offer condolences. We also were able to reach an eyewitness on the killing of Amjad.


Amjad was a civil activist. His father recalls some of his actions: he participated in the February 11, 2011 revolution, in the activities of the Southern Peaceful Movement and the activities of a number of civil society organizations in 2012, in 2013 he joined the Yemeni Socialist Party, in 2014 he founded a student organization under the name of the Civil Students Association, and at the end of 2015, he founded with a group of his colleagues a cultural club under the name of “Al-Nasya” and continued to practice his cultural human rights and political work until he was martyred on the afternoon of Wednesday, May 14, 2017.

One of the testimonies – we keep the name for security reasons – says that an armed group belonging to the security belt in Crater, who was guarding the demolition of Al-Hamid Mosque which has an archaeological, and where shops are scheduled to be constructed in its place, prevented any protest or filming process. So Amjad and his colleagues organized a stand rejecting this behavior, and launched an electronic campaign on social media to stop the demolition process. As a result, “Emam Al -Nubi”  – he was leading Camp Twenty -was assigned to observe the demolition process and to arrest the protesting youth. Al -Nubi sent his threats to Amjad, indeed, and shortly before his death, he arrested him to the camp and tortured him there.

On Wednesday, May 14, 2017, Amjad was in the Internet café where he works, in Sheikh Othman, a motorcycle stopped in front of the shop, and moments later café goers heard the first shot, when they turned around, they saw the killer in front of Amjad. He was wearing civilian clothes, maybe jeans and a shirt, and with a mask on his face. The witness confirms, that the killer fired the second shot at Amjad, and then the third in sensitive areas of his body, the head, the chest, and the neck. Then he pointed his gun at the customers saying : no one moves, I will shoot anyone who moves. He addressed Amjad incomprehensibly, then coldly fired a final shot, then confidently walked out and left on the motorcycle. The street was empty, although it was the rush hour in the Sheikh Othman neighborhood, as if it was planned to empty the street in order to kill Amjad, arranging for an escape after the crime. Although the police station was informed immediately after the crime, the police arrived two hours later, though they did not need more than five minutes to reach the place.


As soon as the news of Amjad’s death reached his friends, they went to Al-Gomhuria Hospital where Amjad was transferred. In the hospital they were surprised by the presence of a military team belonging to Camp 20 led by Emam Al-Nubi, wanting to take Amjad’s body, they said: Honoring the dead is burying him, according to what journalist Hani Al-Junaid confirmed in his testimony to Free Media Center. Meanwhile, many young people arrived to the hospital: “The killers saw that the situation was complicated and they could not take the body.”

The next day, a group of activists went to Amjad’s family home, a source from Al-Nasya club, who asked not to be identified, says that a group of civilian people: “They were calling us the followers of organizations,” hinting that Amjad and his friends were receiving support from foreign organizations to spread atheism and debauchery, a charge promoted by Amjad’s killers. At home “we did not find any of their neighbors because they called him an atheist.”

On that road leading to Amjad’s family home, the gunmen who were affiliated with Emam Al-Nubi, the commander of Camp 20th, “spread out around the neighborhood and its outlets completely.”

When three of Amjad’s journalist friends left the family’s home, they were surprised by the creation of an armed point for members of Al-Nubi Camp near the house. The journalists are Hani Al -Junaid, Majed Al -Shuaibi and Hosam Radman. According to Hani’s testimony, the militants: “ pointed the weapons towards us.” Then “they took us off the car and we were shocked with electrical tools and strange torture instruments”, then they took the three, boasting, “They shot along the street until we reached Camp 20.”

In the camp, Emam Al-Nubi personally attended, searching for Hani Al -Junaid and beating him. One of his soldiers also came and hit Hani with a stick on his head until he bled. Another one of his soldiers, who wanted to take Amjad’s body from the hospital, was present, he knew them. He pointed at Hosam saying :«This is the one who refused to let out the body and said you can only take the body after investigating and  identifying the killers and who is behind them». Then they took Hosam out and continued torturing him.  Al-Junaid confirms that during his torture he heard someone saying : «Do not kill him here we take him to the top and kill him» and for three times they deluded him that he would be killed .

Yassin, one of the names who harshly tortured him, came again to Al-Junaid: “I was covered with blood and wounds from so many beatings, yet he had a pipe in his hand and hit me with it and then took out the gun and put it on my head. He told me we will kill you like we killed Amjad.”

One interrogator also asked Hani about atheism: “I told him, ‘We are not atheists. He said, ‘ deists.’ I told him, “This is the first time I hear this word.”  He said, “How can you say you’re a journalist?” I told him, “Yes, a journalist.” He said, “So you’re an atheist?” “You are spreading affliction. Then he hit me and put the gun on my head.”

The investigators of Camp Twenty and the rest of Al-Nubi soldiers wanted to know the addresses of a group of activists who organized some events and activities with Amjad. They were repeating accusations such as being funded from foreign organizations, spreading atheism, the cultural club ‘Al-Nasya’ established by Amjad, denied the charges altogether, Amjad and his friends organized some events that began to spread, including encouraging people to read.

Hani Al-Junaid confirmed that during the torture they showed him a list of names «Free Media keeps the names mentioned by Al-Junaid». Hani already knew them, but he did not know their addresses. Emam Al-Nubi came again, and threatened Al-Junaid : “We will reach your friends one by one. He mentioned them by name.”

One of the prison administrators came to the cell and told Hani: “Your friends are out. You are the only one who stays in prison and you refuse to cooperate with me . Hosam was released by Al-Aidarous – he means Aidarous Al-Zubaidi, the current head of the transitional councils- and Majed was released by Shalal – he means Shalal Shaea, the former director of security for Aden-  and you are alone without anyone ? » He made Hani an offer: «He said tell me everything and I will get you out of prison». But Hani, as he says, had nothing to say.

One of the young men who were at Amjad’s family house to offer condolences, witnessed the arrest of the journalists, while they were leaving the house. He informed the rest of his colleagues with the news , which will turn into public opinion, and constitute a campaign of pressure on the STC ‘security belts’, legitimacy as well as the Arab coalition in Aden.

After his release, at night, the media official of the leader, Shalal Shaea contacted Hani Al -Junaid : He said,“ Do not worry you are under our protection ”and informed him:“ The Coalition wanted you . ” Indeed, they went to the Coalition headquarters. Hani confirmed : “We told them everything that happened … and we told them that they told us – meant the soldiers of the camp of twenty – they told us during torture that they killed Amjad. We told them you support those men with money and weapons so you are responsible. They said we will besiege the area, but they did nothing. ”

On the second day, Mukhtar Al-Nubi, a military commander in the STC in Aden who is the brother of Emam Al-Nubi, came and met the journalists. He said that everything would be fine, and told Hani and his two colleagues that we will drive you to your homes. In the car, Al-Junaid says: “Mukhtar told us, ‘I swear to you that the one who killed Amjad is my brother Emam”, then he got out of the car and asked his brother Awad to drive journalist Hani and his two colleagues home. The journalists were suspicious of Awad, who is the brother of Emam Al-Nubi , and who was driving the car, after he talked about atheists, saying: It is supposed not to talk to atheists. Hani eluded the driver, and deceived him that he was getting of the car to buy qat and return. When they left the car they hid out of sight. They  stayed hidden for days. Hani and the rest of Amjad’s activist friends were sure that they were pursued: «We felt the danger, so we took refuge in Hadramawt» Activists also left Aden, some to Hadramawt, some to Sayoon then Cairo and others to Sana’a.

According to three testimonies documented by the Free Media Center for Investigative Journalism, the Sheikh Othman police, affiliated with Aden security, pursued Amjad’s friends , under the pretext of searching for Amjad’s personal computer “according to what they said that the computer contains information and secrets of organizations.”


|This summary comes within the framework of the ‘For Truth’ project, which will be published within an in-depth report containing the details of this story during the current year 2024.

Monitoring and Field documentation: Hamza Al-Jubaihi

Monitoring and Field documentation: Hamza Al-Jubaihi

A field journalist and professional photographer, he works as Director of the Multimedia Department at the Free Media Center for Investigative Journalism, and Executive Director at the Diamond Media Foundation for Visual Media Production.

Editing and checking information: Wagdi Assalemi, Hamza Al-Jubaihi

Editing and checking information: Wagdi Assalemi, Hamza Al-Jubaihi

A Yemeni journalist specializing in investigative reports, founder and president of the “FREE MEDIA” Foundation for Investigative Journalism.

Editing for publication: Salman Al-Humaidi

Editing for publication: Salman Al-Humaidi

An independent Yemeni journalist, he worked as editorial secretary for Al-Ahali newspaper, before moving to work as editorial director for the national newspaper Hadith Al-Madina. He writes for many news websites, in addition to his work as an editor with many media and human rights institutions.