Foreigners warned to use caution [Archives:2002/46/Front Page]

November 11 2002

American and British nationals are among those being advised to avoid non-essential travel to Yemen, in the latest tightening of measures to deal with the threat of terrorism.
At the same time expatriate workers across the Gulf states of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have also been warned to be vigilant, particularly in places frequented by foreigners, such as hotels, restaurants and shopping malls.
Foreign offices warned this week there may be a retaliation against Western interests in Yemen following the killing last week of six suspected al Qaeda members, including Osama bin Laden’s top lieutenant in the country, Qaed Salim Sinan al-Harethi.
Meanwhile, the US State Department said Nov. 7 it was not yet able to confirm reports that a U.S. national had been killed in Yemen in an operation attributed to the Central Intelligence Agency.
“We’ve seen the reports,” spokesman Richard Boucher said. “I suppose we may hear more from the Yemeni authorities. We don’t have enough information to determine whether this name is a particular American or not, AFP reported.
Yemeni sources told AFP that the six killed were “dangerous elements” of Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda terror network wanted for “involvement in terrorist acts that harmed the national interests of Yemen.”
Meanwhile, Amnesty International has written to US President George Bush to express its deep concern over the Nov. 3 American attack killing six Yemeni.
Amnesty International has also written to the President of Yemen asking whether there had been attempts by the Yemeni authorities to arrest these persons, and urging them to provide clarification about the cooperation and possible knowledge of the Yemeni government in this incident.
“If this was the deliberate killing of suspects in lieu of arrest in circumstances in which they did not pose an immediate threat the killings would be extra-judicial executions, in violation of international human rights law,” Amnesty International said in a Nov. 8 press release.
“The United States should issue a clear and unequivocal statement that it will not sanction extra-judicial executions in any circumstances and that any US officials found to be involved in such actions will be brought to justice,” the organization added.
Amnesty International urges the US government to provide full clarification of the role played by US personnel in the death of the six men.
Those killed include an alleged leading member of al-Qaeda Salim Sinyan al-Harethi.
Amnesty International say it recognizes the obligation of the US to protect its nationals. Nevertheless, any measure taken must be in accordance with US commitments under international human rights law, even in times of national emergency, it said.