Advocates quit terrorism tribunal [Archives:2004/745/Front Page]
Advocates of the 15 al-Qaeda suspects on trial for several terrorist operations announced their withdrawal from the case due to concerns over the fairness of the tribunal.
The prosecution charges the suspected terrorists with blowing up the French oil tanker Limburg in Mukalla in October 2002, carrying out several bombings in Sana'a, killing a 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.
Advocates Mohammed Allawo, Abdulaziz al-Samawi, Khalid al-Anisi and Mahdi Tarah announced in a press statement that they were resigning from the defense of the suspects as “there is no minimum insurance for a fair tribunal as the advocacy found itself dealing with a state's security court that does not have any insurance for justice like any other courts.” “To avoid being used only as puppets to decorate and legitimize a tribunal that is false and weak and meant to cover the violations and abuses of the freedom and rights of those suspects over four years at the hands of the Political Security Organization (PSO) and prosecution, we announce our withdrawal from this case to stress our respect for our profession and ethics,” the statement said.
The Sana'a Criminal Court Concerned with Terrorism and Kidnapping held on Monday its third hearing, but the advocates did not attend. The court judge Ahmad al-Jermuzi decided to postpone the trial until next Saturday, asking the suspects to appoint an advocate each. The hearing continued for less than 15 minutes. Journalists were not allowed to attend the session, stopped by security men outside the court building. Advocate Mohammed Allawo attended later when the session was over and he expressed surprise that the trail session started so early. He told journalists that he and other lawyers were denied a copy of the investigation file despite the orders of the court judge last time. He accused the prosecutor Saeed al-Akel of exercising excessive influence over the judge, claiming that the time set by the judge for the advocates to prepare their defense in favor of 14 suspects, as one of them is still at large, is not enough.
The statement criticized the way the suspects were treated, brought before the judge in a cage with their hands chained as well as they way they were put into the prison vehicle.
The trial of the USS Cole bombing suspects is a cause of dispute between the US and Yemeni authorities, a Yemeni official told Yemen Times. He said on condition not to be identified that the US is applying pressure to participate directly in interrogating the 11 suspects, which Yemen refuses. The US has always demanded the delay of the tribunal so as to collect more information on the case, uncovering the real perpetrators and masterminds of the incident that caused the deaths of 17 and injury of 39 US citizens.
The prosecution requested on Sunday that the court give it one month to complete their investigations and the interrogation of the suspects. Political observers said this request spells out the difference between the US and Yemeni sides.
A delegation representing the US Department of Justice and the FBI arrived in Sana'a last week to take part in the investigations and tribunal of the suspects.
The 15 suspected terrorists on trial
1-Omar Saeed Hasan Jarallah, alias Ibn Hafidh, 26
2- Fawzi Yahia al-Hababi, alias Abu al-Shaheed, 26, jobless
3-Mohammed Saeed Ali al-Amari, alias Abu Gharib al-Taeezi, 25, jobless
4-Fawzi Gharib alias Abu Musab al-Taeezi, 24, student
5-Yasser Ali Salem (still at large)
6- Fawaz Yahia Hasan al-Rabee
7-Abu Bakr Yahia Hasan al-Rabee, 26
8-Hizam Saleh Ali, alias Mujali
9- Ibraheem M. Abduljabar, alias Abu Zaid, 25
10-Mohammed A. Ahamd al-Dailami, 26
11-Saleem Mohammed Ali al-Dailami, 25, teacher
12- Abdulghani Ali Hussein, alias Jaber al-Sanani, jobless
13-Kasem Yahia Mahdi, alias Abu Hurairah al-Sanani
14- Khaled A. al-Jalob, alias Abu Muslim
15- Aref Saleh Ali Mujali