Video testimony by Khadija Al Salami
While this story certainly dates a little, it is a shining example of Khadija Al Salami’s unwavering commitment to the children and young girls of Yemen.
When Khadija Al Salami heard about Amina, a teenager also forced into marriage at a very young age, and sentenced to death for murdering her husband, a murder that she denied having committed, Khadija moved heaven and earth to be authorised to see this convicted girl still waiting to be executed after several years in prison. A decisive encounter as the young girl had been imprisoned with absolutely no proof, just another victim of the social stigma of Yemeni society.
Khadija was quick to understand that the official version was untenable and that the real offenders had been identified but never bothered. She thus decided to denounce this new injustice to women by means of a film. To do this, she hid in the prison and spent several days with the inmates.
Back in Paris, she took advantage of a visit to this country of the former Yemeni President, Ali Abdallah Al-Salih, to tell him about Amina’s case and ask for her to be pardoned. He received Khadija because she is a diplomat (she works at the Yemeni Embassy) and, also, had just received, that very same day, a prestigious award in Lebanon for her last film. The Yemeni President accepted to commute Amina’s death sentence to life imprisonment, but refused to free the young girl.
It was only one year later, when she accompanied a French delegation to Yemen, that Khadija met the Yemeni President again. After relentless insistence, she eventually obtained the complete release of Amina who she continued to take care of long afterwards.
Since then Amina has led a quiet existence far from Yemen.