Advocates Quit & Prosecution Asks for Upholding case for Final HearingSuspects acknowledge link to Bin Laden & al-Houthi [Archives:2004/760/Front Page]

August 2 2004

Mohammed Al-Qadhi
Again, 11 advocates quitted the tribunal of the alleged 15 al-Qaeda a suspects, one still at large, charged with several terrorist operations in protest of not having access to copies of the investigations report while the prosecution demanded upholding the case for the final hearing next week.
The prosecution charged the fifteen suspected terrorists in the first hearing held May 29th with blowing up the French Oil Tanker in Mukalla in October 2002, carrying out several explosions in Sana'a, killing one soldier and plotting to blow up the US, UK, French, German and Cuban embassies in Sana'a as well as plotting to kill the US ambassador to Yemen Edmund Hull.
In Saturday's hearing session the prosecution insisted that the court should probe into the seized explosives and weapons as well as other evidence for the terrorist operations and plots allegedly carried out by the defendants. The prosecution brought into the courtroom (as exhibits) 310,5 kg, 114 out of them are sticks made of C3 explosives, 238 sticks of T.N.T., 506 sticks of T.N.T explosives, 2 rockets, launcher and other stuff which were seized in a flat at al-Qadiysiah zone after an explosion in April 2002.
The prosecutor said these explosives were to be used in blasting foreign embassies. It also presented to the court judge Ahmad al-Jermozi the hand-launched rocket Sam 2 fired at the Hunt Oil Company plane as well as 18 kg of C3 explosives which were found planted near the house of Mohammed al-Surmi, former intelligence deputy chief. Other materials displayed included remnants of the boat used in the suicide attack against the French Tanker Limburg. Chief prosecutor Said al-Akil said these evidences comply with the confessions made by the defendants while interrogated.
The 11 advocates authorized by the Advocates Syndicates insisted that the court refuse to continue probing into these materials presented as evidence against the defendants before they have a chance to copy the investigation reports. The prosecutor refused their demand and said the court already decided that no copies are to be given to the defense; the court judge continued listening to the prosecution as showing the evidence which made the advocates burst out in anger and leave the courtroom.
Advocate Jamal al-Jubee said they quitted the tribunal due to the insistence of the prosecution and court that they would not be given copies of the case file as well as the harassment and inspection they face while entering the court. “We were asked by our syndicate to attend the trial and defend the suspects after their advocates quitted for the same reasons. I expected that the syndicate would take a firm stand and stop lawyers from the defense before this court until it and the prosecution abide by law,” he said.
The defendants at this moment made a big fuss, hailing for Osama Bin Laden and shouting anti-US slogans. They accused the judge of turning the tribunal into a farce. “hey Jermozi bring out the verdict paper from your pocket; the sentences are already decided. I do feel for you,” defendant Kasem al-Raimi told the judge in reckless manner. The alleged ring leader Fawaz al-Rabee shouted loudly anti-US slogans and said “we do acknowledge Bin Laden our leader; we pledge to obey his orders in fighting the Americans.” “I shall never go back to infidelity,” he shouted while the prosecution was showing the judge its evidence. His friends were indifferent to the conversation between the court and prosecution and shouting Islamic songs in an indifferent way. They even expressed support to Hussein al-Howthi and said he is their leader.
While the prosecution asked the court to uphold the case for final hearings next Saturday, the court judge decided to contact the advocates syndicate concerning what he called the departure of the advocates without his permission. He also decided that the suspects would be faced with the material evidences presented by the prosecution.
On the other hand, the same court probing into the case of the 6 alleged al-Qaeda militants charged with blowing up the USS Cole decided last Wednesday that advocates should not be given copies of the case file, and expelling one of the lawyers.
The court judge Najeeb Kaderi listened to the testimony of the witnesses. The first witness Saleh Hussein Mohammed admitted renting his house to the alleged mastermind of the USS Cole terrorist operation who is in US custody now while the second witness Hamid Abdullah Omar admitted he took the boat into the sea. He said he was arrested for over a month.
When advocate al-Anisi attended the court a bit late, he was informed of the court decision not to give a copy of the case file; he told the judge that he would like to appeal his verdict against his clients. The judge burst in anger and ordered that al-Anisi should be sacked for insulting the court, showing mistrust in it.
However, al-Samawi accepted to have a look at the investigation report only and presented his defense which refuted the charges against the clients. He said how come the defendants are accused of setting an armed gang which, he said, is impossible to attack something like the USS Cole. He also said “how come these people whom the prosecution said were trained in Afghanistan in 1998 knew that Cole would anchor at Aden port at that time.”
The prosecution said it will refute his defense next hearing to be run this Wednesday. It also presented a letter from the Legal Department head at the US embassy supporting the lawsuit against the defendants.