Thank you, Ahmed

IssueAugust - September 2021
News by Milan Rai

Do you remember the case of Ahmed Al-Batati, the British-Yemeni soldier who was arrested across the road from Downing Street on 24 August last year? (PN 2646 – 2647)

We have only just discovered Ahmed’s fate from the very wonderful Declassified UK group, who interviewed Ahmed last December.

It turns out that the authorities decided not to take action against Ahmed, and he was allowed to leave the army in December.

If you remember, Ahmed stood in his uniform next to a home-made sign saying: ‘Every 10 minutes a child dies in Yemen due to the war. One whistle = one child’. He blew a whistle every 10 minutes until he was detained by military police and taken back to his base.

In a video recorded before the protest, Ahmed, who was born in Yemen, said: ‘I joined the army in 2017 and took an oath to protect and serve this country, not to be part of a corrupt government that continues to arm and support terrorism’.

By ‘terrorism’, Ahmed meant the Saudi war in Yemen, which is armed and assisted by the UK.

Ahmed told Declassified that he’d broken two military laws – ‘disobeying a lawful order and protesting whilst in uniform’ – but he hadn’t technically gone ‘absent without leave’ (AWOL) because they’d arrested him within 48 hours of going missing.