Yahya Al Mutawakkil


Soldier, diplomat and politician. General Yahya was a liberal-minded Yemeni politician who believed in pluralism, abhorred religious extremism and sought to minimise tribal political influences. He was a leading figure in the Yemen Arab Republic (north Yemen) and shared in the eventual success of the 1990 merging of north and south into the present Yemen Re In 1963, al-Mutawakkil was severely wounded in an encounter during the civil war - between the Egyptian-backed republicans and the royalists, and was treated in Egypt before going on to Soviet Union for military studies. Al-Mutawakkil joined a party of prominent Yemenis in 1966 but he ended in Cairo's military prison. Back in Yemen he played a key role in November 1967 bloodless coup. He worked increasingly to set up the government of national reconciliation in 1970, which ended the civil war. Al-Mutawakkil, after the ambassadorship to Egypt and to Libya, returned to Yemen following the June 1974 coup. Appointed interior minister, he banned the detention without trial of political prisoners for more than 24 hours. In 1977, al-Mutawakkil became ambassador to the US and then to France. On his return to Yemen, he again became interior minister and struggled to prevent the war between north and south Yemen. In the mid-1990 he was elected assistant general secretary of the ruling General People's Congress, and from 2001 headed the Consultative Council's political committee. Yahya al-Mutawakkil, son of a judge, was born in the north-west of the capital San'a. He who survived an attempted poisoning in 1990s died in a road accident.

Compiler: M. Nauman Khan

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