A letter from… Yemen
Surviving in a Yemeni prison
My name is Hafsah. I’m 27 years old. I’m currently imprisoned in Central Prison Hodeidah, Yemen. In five months I will be released, and I feel so happy to know I will be free again. But a tough life is waiting for me.
I killed my brother as he was attacking me at dawn. I did not mean to kill him. He came to my house when my husband was away in Saudi Arabia. My brother was totally drunk. To begin with I hesitated to open the door for him, but he told me he wanted to go to the bathroom, and under his insistence I opened the door.
It was not the first time he had tried to attack me. I had raised a case against him at the police station as well as with the sheik. He had been arrested and spent seven months in prison. However, this time I could not stop him – he wasn’t conscious. I tried pushing him and I threatened him with a knife that I took from the kitchen closet, but he did not stop, he kept approaching.
The first stabbing was in his waist, but he gained extra strength, I do not know from where. As he persisted, I got more and more scared until the final stabbing that killed him…
This is an extract from the April 2014 edition of Reform.