Spaniard’s death sentence suspended [Archives:2003/670/Front Page]

September 22 2003

Mohammed bin Sallam
Sana'a, Sept. 20)News reports on September 20 said that the Spanish King, Juan Carlos succeeded in persuading the Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh to suspend the death sentence against a Spaniard national of Syrian origin convicted of spying and planning terror attacks in Yemen.
The Spanish foreign ministry resources mentioned that the King Juan Carlos had made a telephone conversation with the Egyptian president requesting him to mediate in Nabil Nankali's case.
On his part, the Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar as well as the Spanish foreign minister have previously discussed the case with Yemeni counterparts.
It is believed that Spain could succeed in the postponement of carrying out the death sentence in order gain time.
On its part, the Amnesty International has also made efforts to rescue Nabil's life.
In a telephone call last Thursday with the Spanish prime minister Aznar, Yemeni president Ali Abdulla Saleh told him the Yemeni judiciary '' is independent and the death sentence was not issued under political motives.'' President Saleh has recently approved the death sentence that had been issued by a civil court in Aden in 1998. Nabil Nankali had admitted during his trial that the Saudi intelligence had recruited him to implement political assassinations in Yemen, including assassination of Dr Abdulkareem al-Iryani who was then in charge of the Yemeni-Saudi borders file, but Saudi Arabia had denied that. Nankali is linked to al-Qaeda organization but it is not believed that his alleged connection with al-Qaeda has anything to do with his trial.
Nankali was convicted by the preliminary court as well as the court of appeals of planning and conducting terrorist attacks and the assassination of government officials in Yemen.
He was arrested in the Yemeni capital, Sana'a, in 1997 along with a number of accomplices who were later rounded up in the capital and in the Red Sea port city of Aden. Nankali was also found guilty preparing explosives for implementing attacks.