Yemen 1991 Constitution (reviewed 2015)

Table of Contents


Article 41

Citizens are all equal in rights and duties.

Article 42

Every citizen has the right to participate in the political, economic, cultural life of the country. The state shall guarantee freedom of thought and expression of opinion in speech, writing and photography within the limits of the law.

Article 43

The citizen has the right to elect and nominate himself as a candidate in an election, as well as the right to demonstrate his opinion in a referendum. The law shall regulate the provisions regarding the practice of this right.

Article 44

The law shall regulate Yemeni nationality. Any Yemeni shall not be deprived of his nationality. Once Yemeni nationality is acquired it may not be withdrawn except in accordance with the law.

Article 45

A Yemeni national may not be extradited to a foreign authority.

Article 46

Extraditing political refugees is prohibited.

Article 47

Criminal liability is personal. No crime or punishment shall be undertaken without a provision in the Shari’ah or the law. The accused is innocent until proven guilty by a final judicial sentence, and no law may be enacted to put a person to trial for acts committed retroactively.

Article 48

  1. The state shall guarantee to its citizens their personal freedom, preserve their dignity and their security. The law shall define the cases in which citizens freedom may be restricted. Personal freedom cannot be restricted without the decision of a competent court of law.
  2. No individual can be arrested, searched or detained unless caught in the act (in flagrant delicto) or served with a summons from a judge or the Public Prosecutor, which is necessary for the progress of an investigation or the maintenance of security. No person can be put under surveillance unless in accordance with the law. Any person whose freedom is restricted in any way must have his dignity protected. Physical and psychological torture is prohibited. Forcing confessions during investigations is forbidden. The person whose freedom is restricted has the right not to answer any questions in the absence of his lawyer. No person may be imprisoned or detained in places other than those designated as such and governed by the law of prisons. Physical punishment and inhumane treatment during arrest, detention or imprisonment are prohibited.
  3. Any person temporarily apprehended on suspicion of committing a crime shall be presented in front of a court within a maximum of 24 hours from the time of his detention. The judge or Public Prosecutor shall inform the detained individual of the reason for his detention and questioning and shall enable the accused to state his defense and rebuttals. The court then gives a justified order for the release of the accused or for the extension of his detention. In any cases, the Prosecutor is not entitled to continue detention of the accused individual more than several days except with a judicial order. The law shall define the maximum period of custody.
  4. Upon arrest, for whatever reason, a person may immediately contact someone of his choice. The same notification shall be repeated whenever a court orders the continuation of the detention. If the nominated person can not be notified, the detainee’s relative or concerned persons shall be notified.
  5. The law shall determine the punishment for whosoever violates any of the stipulations of this Article and it shall also determine the appropriate compensation for any harm the person suffers as a result of such a violation. Physical or psychological torture at the time of arrest, detention or jail is a crime that cannot be prescribable. All those who practice, order, or participate in executing, physical or psychological torture shall be punished.

Article 49

The right to defend oneself in person or by representation is guaranteed during all periods of investigation and in front of all courts, in accordance with the rules of the law. The state shall guarantee judicial assistance to those who cannot afford it, according to the law.

Article 50

Execution of punishments shall not be undertaken by illegal means. The law shall organize such matter.

Article 51

Citizens have the right of recourse to the courts to protect their rights and lawful interests. They also have the right to submit their complaints, criticisms, and suggestions to the various government bodies directly or indirectly.

Article 52

Residences, places of worship, and educational institutions have a sanctity which may not be violated through surveillance or search except in the cases stipulated by the law.

Article 53

The state shall guarantee the freedom and confidentiality of mail, telephone, telegram and all other means of communication, none of which may be censored, searched, exposed, delayed or confiscated except in cases specified by law and according to a court order.

Article 54

Education is a right for all citizens. The state shall guarantee education in accordance with the law through building various schools and cultural and educational institutions. Basic education is obligatory. The state shall do its best to obliterate illiteracy and give special care to expanding technical and vocational education. The state shall give special attention to young people and protect them against perversions, provide them with religious, mental and physical education, and the appropriate environment to develop their aptitude in all fields.

Article 55

Health care is a right for all citizens. The state shall guarantee this by building various hospitals and health establishments and expanding their care. The law shall organize the medical profession. The expansion of free health services and health education among the citizens.

Article 56

The state shall guarantee social security for all citizens in cases of illness, disability, unemployment, old age or the loss of support. The state shall especially guarantee this, according to the Law, for the families of those killed in war.

Article 57

Freedom of movement from one place to another within the country is guaranteed for all citizens, and may not be restricted except by law and for reasons necessitated by the security and safety of the people. The law shall regulate entry and exit from Yemen. No citizen may be deported from or denied return to Yemen.

Article 58

In as much as it is not contrary to the Constitution, the citizens may organize themselves along political, professional and union lines. They have the right to form associations in scientific, cultural, social and national unions in a way that serves the goals of the Constitution. The state shall guarantee these rights, and shall take the necessary measures to enable citizens to exercise them. The state shall guarantee freedom for the political, trade, cultural, scientific and social organizations.

Article 59

Paying taxes and public dues is a duty according to the law.

Article 60

Defending religion and the homeland is a sacred duty, military duty is an honour, and national service is to be organized by law.

Article 61

Preserving national unity, safeguarding secrets of the state, respecting the laws and following their provisions are every citizen’s duty.