New AQAP video documents riots at Sana’a Political Security Prison

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has released a video produced by its media wing, al Malahim, regarding the riots at the Political Security Prison in Sana’a that took place on Oct. 21, 2013. The video includes footage of the riots as well as commentary from an unnamed prisoner detailing the inmates’ demands of the Yemeni authorities. “Our demands are legitimate demands,” the prisoner explains, “discharging prisoners who have done their time and to count for us three quarters of the jail time … we want total reforms in the prison!” He describes the Yemeni revolution of 2011 as a failure, saying, “All revolutions in the world freed political prisoners except our unsuccessful revolution.”

The recording documents the narrow jail cells in the prison as well as inmate fears of being shot through the windows by the security authorities. A prisoner by the name of ‘Omar al Sufyani is shown shortly after he was shot by the prison security forces. A month after his death, Yemeni media sources said al Sufyani was a soccer player in the May 22 sports club and that he had been arrested “solely on the accusation that his brother is a member of al Qaeda.” However, Yemeni security sources told the media that Sufyani was an AQAP member.

Following the prison footage is a statement from AQAP commander Jalal al Marqishi, known as Hamza al Zinjibari, titled “The Yemeni Government: Treason and Betrayal.” In his speech, al Marqishi says that the riots in the Political Security Prison emerged as the prisoners’ response to “the oppression and abuse practiced on them.” He accuses the Yemeni government of acting as “a proxy for American interests” and of imprisoning Sunnis instead of protecting them from attacks by the Zaydi Houthis. Al Marqishi threatens that “[t]he price will be paid by those who are behind this oppression and aggression.”

The threat from al Marqishi comes amid a growing AQAP campaign against Yemeni government and military facilities and personnel. Most recently, on March 18 a suspected al Qaeda suicide bomber attacked the Yemeni military intelligence headquarters in Lahj, north of Aden.

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