Yemeni government accused of double standards in dealing with kidnappers 18/01/2006 NewsYemen, Sanaa – The Yemeni government was harshly criticized by lawyer Saqr Al-Samawi for applying ‘double standards’ when dealing the cases of kidnapping. In a statement to the press, the lawyer, who represents the defendants that kidnapped five Italians about two weeks ago, said while the government resolved the kidnapping of German tourists in a tribal manner, the kidnappers of the Italians were dealt with ruthlessly. ‘It is unfortunate that the government is applying a double and different standard for essentially identical cases.” Al-Samawi said. He claimed that this action is not motivated by the desire to apply the rule of law, but for ‘different reasons’ that he did not disclose. The kidnappers, who belong to Al-Zaidi tribe, are to be sentenced in a trial that would start next Wednesday. The government had pledged to maximize the possible penalty against the kidnappers. This action was in total contrast, according to Al-Samawi, to its action towards the kidnappers of the German tourists. Those kidnappers were given cash compensation and were promised access to job opportunities, social services and other facilities. The lawyer claimed that the government is selecting whom to punish and whom to reward regardless of the fact that they ‘basically did the same thing’. Meanwhile, the lawyer and the family members of the detained kidnappers were not allowed to visit them in prison, ‘which constitutes a violation of the law’ as Al-Samawi said. Al-Samawi called upon the judiciary to improve the prison conditions of the kidnappers and place them in regular prisons rather than solitary confinements. It is worth noting that President Saleh and Prime Minister ba Jammal were both quite critical of the kidnapping of the Italians and vowed to never negotiate, while they allowed the government to negotiate with the kidnappers of the Germans and had in fact reached a tribal agreement.