Court tries 36 suspects on terror charges [Archives:2007/1030/Front Page]

March 5 2007

Yasser Al-Mayasi
SANA'A, March 4 ) The State Security Specialized Penal Court on Sunday began trying 36 suspects accused of forming a terrorist gang, plotting to disrupt national security and stability and carry out offensives against public institutions between February and October 2006.

The prosecutor charged the terrorist suspects, ranging from No. 1 to 34, with being involved in an armed band plotting vandalism acts with the aim of disturbing security and stability and exposing lives to risk. He added that the terrorists planned to attack foreign guests at the Shahran and Hadda hotels, located in southwest Sana'a, as well as Yemeni businessmen.

Additionally, the suspects are accused of bombing natural gas installations in Marib and Hadramout governorates using missiles and car bombs, which killed guard Mohammed Saleh Al-Makhzomi and damaged the two oil installations.

In the hearing, Prosecution said the suspects opened fire on and hurled grenades at police to escape arrest. The court confirmed that six fugitives remain. Some of the gang members had been obeying suspect No. 29, Fawaz Al-Rabe'i, who was killed by security authorities in Sana'a.

The court noted that investigation reports mention that the terrorists had machine-guns, explosives and hand grenades, as well as jihadist handouts on how to use explosives and Al-Qaeda organization slogans.

The suspects denied all charges attributed to them, while three urged the court to refer them to a court-appointed medical examiner after allegedly being beaten and tortured in prison. Other suspects demanded the court allow them to meet their defense attorneys and appoint advocates for those without.

The court allowed some of the suspects to meet with their attorneys, as well as obtain photocopies of their case files in order to defend themselves. The judge also ordered the suspects referred to the examiner in order to prepare reports for the upcoming hearing.