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A source close to the slain teacher's family said they were compelled to forgive the killer and pardon him under pressure from tribesmen and government officials

The case of a murdered school teacher in Sana'a ends quietly under Houthi-led mediation

Houthi authorities in Sana'a closed the case of a murdered school teacher in the capital following tribal mediation that compelled the victim’s family to waive their rights to revenge and pardon the killer unconditionally.

Faisal Saad Al-Raimi, a 42-year-old teacher at Al-Kayan private school, died on Dec. 18 after being beaten by gunmen led by Murad Nasser Al-Faqih, the owner of a car dealership in Sana’a.

The murder investigation, which drew widespread public attention, was closed over the weekend after three months of delays, apparent cover-up and regular sit-ins demanding the prosecution of Al-Faqih and an end to Houthi incursions into schools. Protesters at the sit-ins and Al-Raimi’s family warned that letting Al-Faqih off the hook sent the signal that influential Houthi loyalists can continue to commit crimes, even murder, with impunity. 

Houthi authorities thwarted legal proceedings and quietly resolved the murder as a tribal affair, observers noted, despite promises from Minister of Education Yahya Al-Houthi and the Houthi-run interior ministry that the perpetrators would be arrested and face trial. 

Since Al-Raimi’s murder, authorities in Sana'a have arrested a number of Al-Faqih’s family members, but not Al-Faqih himself.

An educational source close to the Houthis in Sana’a told Almasdar Online on condition of anonymity that Mohammed Hussein Al-Maqdashi, deputy minister of social affairs and labor in the Houthi-run government, has been sheltering Al-Faqih in his home.

Al-Maqdashi, who recently left his post as governor of Dhamar governorate for the role in Sana’a, led the tribal mediation with Raymah governorate tribes (where Al-Raimi is from) on behalf of Al-Faqih, who hails from Dhamar.

On Friday, Mohammed Ali Al-Houthi, a member of the Houthi Supreme Political Council, oversaw the tribal ruling and closure of the case.

The tribal reconciliation agreement concluded that the Al-Raimi family, tribal sheikhs and other leaders in Raymah must pardon the perpetrator, Al-Faqih, according to the Houthi-run Saba news agency. 

At a ceremony thanking the sheikhs of Dhamar and Raymah, Mohammed Ali Al-Houthi also thanked school teachers in general.

"Thanks to all the work that teachers give to our sons and daughters, you are offering hard work and jihad in preserving our children, and what you are doing is a struggle that must continue in the educational process despite the (Saudi-led coalition) blockade and the suspension of salaries.“ 

A source close to Al-Raimi's family told Almasdar Online that the family was compelled to forgive the killer and pardon him under pressure from tribesmen and government officials. 

Another source familiar with the details of the mediation told Almasdar Online that the case ended with the payment of heavy compensation to Al-Raimi’s family and the Raymah tribes.

The family accepted the compensation, reasoning that the case would soon be forgotten in the current situation in the country, the source close to the mediation efforts said on condition of anonymity.

The decision of Raymah sheikhs and elders to organize sit-ins was a key factor in pressuring the Houthi authorities to take it seriously, as the rebels had initially tried to discredit the protestors in the media by suggesting that they were collaborating with the Saudi-led coalition.

Private and government schools in Houthi-controlled areas have been the target of constant incursions by Houthi militants, who have also targeted female students and teachers.

On Tuesday, the Yemeni Teachers Union accused Houthi fighters of kidnapping two teachers and blowing up two schools in northwest Marib governorate.

Last week, Houthi authorities broke into the home of a female professor at Sana’a University and evicted her and her family after a Houthi-run court sentenced her husband, a minister of parliament, to death on allegations of collaborating with the Saudi-led coalition.

In late February, a Houthi soldier stormed a school in Shar'b district in Taiz governorate and started shooting indiscriminately. The Houthi supervisor responsible for the soldier said the gunman was mentally ill and taking drugs.


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