Six indicted and five acquittedAl-Qaeda militants admit plot to Western interests [Archives:2005/827/Front Page]

March 24 2005

Mohammed Al-Qadhi
Eight al-Qaeda suspects, including an Iraqi with Swiss nationality, admitted in Sana'a Counter-Terrorism Monday, March 21 to planning attacks on Western embassies here, while six convicted terrorists were sentenced to two years in jail in another case.

The Sana'a Counter-Terrorism court earlier in the day sentenced six men to two years in prison after they were convicted of forming an armed gang in Afghanistan camps between 1998 and 2002 and were plotting and raising funds for “criminal acts” inside Yemen and abroad. The court acquitted five others of the 11-member group whose trial started Feb. 15. The suspects were also charged to have had planned to travel to Iraq to fight US-led forces. The charges against them included possession of arms and explosives and forging documents and passports. All 11 men were acquitted of another charge of setting up an armed group to carry out attacks in Yemen.

The list of the indicted includes : Mohammed Saleh al-Kazmi, 35, Abdullah Yahya al-Wadaee, 27, Mansur Nasser al-Bihani, 31, Shafeeq Ahmed Omar, 26, Saddam Hussein Ismail, 24, Fares Mohammed Al-Baraq, 27. “These were all proved guilty of forging Saudi, Yemeni and Iraqi passports.

Ibrahim Mohammed al-Mukri, 43, Mohammed Ahmed Hatem, 30, Fares al-Nahdi, Fares Mohammed Ali, 27, Abdul Raoof Abdullah Naseeb, 30 and Ahmed Mohammed al-Kardai, 27. and Ismail al-Husami were all aquited.

Six of the 11 men were handed over to Yemen by Saudi Arabian authorities, as per a security agreement between the two countries.

In the court chaired by judge Najeeb Qaderi, the chief prosecutor Saeed al-Akil charged the eight-member group, including an Iraqi and two Syrians, with forming an armed gang and planning attacks on Western interests in Yemen, including the British Embassy, Italian Embassy, the French Cultural Centre in Sanaa.

Some of suspects told the court that they had planned to attack the British and Italian embassies and the French Cultural Center and that they received money and instructions from al-Qaeda operatives in Saudi Arabia while others denied denied some of the charges.

The suspects, including five Yemenis (Khaled al-Batati, Abdulrahman Basurah, Majed Buraik Mizan, Salah Mohammed Othman and Amran al-Faqih), Iraqi-born Swiss national Anwar Bayan Sadiq al-Gaylani and the two Syrian brothers Mohammed Abdulwahab Khait and Ahmad Abdulwahab Khait, were detained during recent months in a crackdown on terrorism by Yemeni authorities. The eight are among 13 suspected al-Qaeda members detained recently.

Al-Akel said while reading the list of charges that five, including a woman were released, for lack of evidence. Police found hand grenades, military fatigues and documents showing sketches of the sites to be attacked.

The prosecution said Al Jailani lived in Kuwait and entered Yemen from Kenya in 2001 with a forged document. He also traveled to Switzerland and came back to Yemen from which he went to Saudi Arabia where he met somebody called al-Hizabr who authorized him to attack the British and Italian embassies and the French Cultural Center in 2003. But al-Jailani accused of leading al-Qaeda cell in Yemen and living in Marib where he met Abu Ali al-Harithi refused to say anything before the court except in the presence of defense lawyers. Al-Harithi who killed in 2002 by a US aircraft in the desert of Marib was accused of plotting the USS Cole terrorist operation in Aden in 2000.

He claimed he was tortured by police in the prison of political security (intelligence) and asked the court to send him to the hospital for medical attention. The court agreed to allow him to see a doctor.

“It is not justice that I stand trial without a defense lawyer. For what sin have I been in prison for one year without having access to my family,” said Al Jailani.

“I refuse any lawyer from the security or prosecution. We deputize Al Samawee and Allaw to defend us.”

The court approved of the appointments of Mohammad Najee Allaw and Abdulaziz Al Samawee to attend the hearing next Monday if they also agreed.

Security forces in armored vehicles and machine gun-toting jeeps blocked streets leading to the court and snipers were posted on rooftops of nearby buildings.

The trials were the latest in a series of Yemeni cases as the appeals court sentenced Saturday, Feb. 5th to death two and jailed 13 other al-Qaeda militants accused of bombing the French oil tanker Limburg, plotting to blow up five Western embassies and assassinate the US ambassador and other attacks terrorist operations in the country.

The appeals court Saturday, Feb. 26 overturned the death sentence against al-Qaeda militant found guilty of the f the U.S. destroyer Cole, but commuted a death verdict against another. Jamal al-Badwi, second prime suspect in the USS Cole bombing, had his death sentence overturned ,sentencing him instead to 15 years in jail. But Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri , held in the US custody and is believed to be the mastermind of the USS Cole terrorist attack still faces the death penalty for the attack which killed 17 US sailors and injured 33 others.

The verdict against Mamoon Amswah was commuted from eight to five years. The other three convicts retained jail sentences ranging from five to 10 years. Fahd al-Qis'e retained the 10 years in The court earlier said that al- Qis'e had traveled to Afghanistan in 1997 to train at an al Qaeda terrorist camp.

Ali Mohamed Murakab and Morad al-Sorori both retained the five years in prison for forging identification documents for Hasan al-Khameri under the name of Abdullah Ahmad Khaled al-Misawa, one of the suicide bombers.