Muhammad Adam, the “Butcher of Sanaa” executed for murdering 200 female students, when in fact he wouldn’t kill an ant! (translated from Arabic in Al-Sudaniya newspaper)
I joined the faculty of medicine in Sanaa, Yemen, for seven years, something that vastly enriched my life experience of other nations. As a Sudanese who knows how well behaved the Sudanese people tend to be, I was impressed with the high caliber of Sudanese professors who went to teach in Yemen.
I was the only female in that field for three years before Sudanese Dr. Fawziyyah joined us as head of nursing. She was a very competent and dedicated worker. I would occasionally enter her office, which she would normally keep locked, to always find her busy with one thing or another, for she hated to waste time, as she put it.
Shortly afterwards, we were joined by several Sudanese anatomy instructors, followed by Muhammad Adam, an anatomy technologist. He was a pleasant and shy young man, who would never raise his eyes to stare at anyone. His work brought him in contact with large numbers of students, but the pressure of work did not change his demeanor, and he was always calm and patient.
The department of chemistry, where I worked, and the anatomy laboratory were on the same floor, although my own office was one level higher, which meant that I would often have to walk past the anatomy lab to get to my office. I would often walk by him, when he would greet me with enormous respect, insisting on using my title. One day, late in my pregnancy, I was exhausted so he rushed to help me to a chair inside the anatomy lab. He then continued to wheel in cadavers, a sight which I could not tolerate, and so I withdrew quietly.
Whenever the Sudanese employees would get together, Muhammad would be the one to make tea for the group, and he would then shyly retire to a corner. With all students he was very cooperative and helpful. He spent longer hours at work than those required by his contract. This increased our contact on those days when my own working hours were in the afternoon.
The faculty of medicine was teeming with very beautiful girls, from different countries, including Syria, Palestine, Iraq and of course Yemen. Judging by the high marks they were getting, I guessed that they were admitted to university through nepotism and influence. I also remember seeing crowds of them, but suddenly many of those girls would “disappear” for no reason.
I left my job after the North-South war in Yemen, and joined the UN, thus losing touch with my work colleagues, until one day when a co-worker came into the office carrying a newspaper with a big headline “Execution of the Sudanese Butcher Responsible for the Death of 200 Female Medical Students!” When I saw the man’s photo, I could not believe my eyes. But it was too late. The Sudanese journalist Aida Abdul-Hameed had tried hard to save his life, because she was convinced that he was framed, but the authorities in Yemen had her deported, to Egypt, apparently.
….. (missing text) … but when he spoke the uncle of the Iraqi victim slapped his face, and so he withdrew permanently! And thus ended the role of the Sudanese embassy in trying to help a Sudanese citizen abroad. Needless to say, the police interrogated all those who had any contact with Mohammad Adam, but when my name came up as a contact, the police were told that I left Yemen and had settled in Holland!! Why Holland, I don’t know! I don’t know why the Sudanese Embassy fabricated this story about my going to Holland.
In any case, Muhammad Adam was tried, convicted, crucified and executed at the entrance of the University of Sanaa, before huge crowds. This followed an attempt to bomb the court house while he was trying to prove his innocence. In court they accused him of killing all of them (200) and yet some of those girls reappeared both before and after his execution! It was also said that his role was only to dispose of their bodies after the girls were murdered by the real butchers, who exploited their wealth and status to dishonor those needy and vulnerable girls. They say that he was paid huge sums of money to cover up their crimes. I must let it be known that the salary he was receiving was huge by his standards and enough for his whole tribe, which we saw on TV.
Every time I remember those events I feel deep anguish, as I am convinced that Muhammad Adam was the victim of a dirty plot. When the papers came out to confirm the falsehood of the accusation against him, and that the real butchers were protected by the Yemeni authorities, and by their status in Yemeni society, ordinary Yemenis began to understand the truth and to trust the Sudanese people in Yemen once more after having doubted them.
Finally, what did Muhammad Adam want to say? What was his role in this sordid crime? Only Allah knows who the criminals are, and the Yemeni authorities who covered up for those who belonged to the ruling party!
But I shall say it, to my last breath: that kind and shy man could not kill an ant, and his salary was such that it would be a generous one to feed his whole tribe, let alone him!
Maha Hasan Qurain, Science Researcher.
Robert Fisk Many of those expected to apply live in Israel. They are being given a “right of return” – a right which Israel does not, of course, grant to the former Arab inhabitants of Palestine who were driven from their homes after the creation of Israel. Spanish and Portuguese officials preferred not to dwell on such matters – nor to explain why they have chosen to discriminate racially between those who were expelled from their lands 600 years ago.