Suspected Terrorists Tribunal Kicks off with Press HarassmentSuspects Admit Plot to Murder US Ambassador [Archives:2004/742/Front Page]

May 31 2004

Mohammed Al-Qadhi
Amidst intensified security measures, the Sana'a Criminal Court specialized in considering issues of terrorism and kidnapping started the first hearing of the tribunal of a group of 15 suspected terrorists charged with several terrorist operations and plots. The prosecution charged the fifteen suspected terrorists with blowing up the French Oil Tanker in Mukalla in October 2002, carrying out several bombings in Sana'a, killing one 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. 14 of the accused were present at the court, although the 15th, Yasser Ali Salem, has yet to be arrested. When the prosecutor said the name of Limburg, the suspected terrorists shouted “Allah Akbar, Allah Akbar,” a tone showing happiness of victory.
The prosecutor Saeed al-Akil said before the court judge Ahmad al-Jermuzi the suspected terrorists rented a house in Hadramaut to store explosives and another to get the boat prepared; he said the boat cost was $20,000. They also bought two tons of explosives where they stuffed the boat with an amount ranging from 1150-1250 kilo of TNT and 20 kilo of C4 plus a number of flashtubes. The operation against the tanker left one dead and caused, according to the prosecutor, an environment catastrophe. He also accused some of them, mainly Fawaz al-Rabee of firing against the helicopter owned by the US Oil Company Hunt wherein one of the crew was wounded. He said seven rockets were launched against the plane in addition to over 150 bullets fired by Hizam Mujali.
The prosecution also accused them of carrying out several terrorist explosions in different parts of the capital Sana'a including the office of the intelligence and house of one of its directors. The charges also included a plot to blow up the US, UK, French, German and Cuban embassies in Sana'a as well as killing the US Ambassador to Yemen Edmund Hull.
Some of the suspects denied the charges but some admitted them, mainly the plot to kill the US Ambassador. Saleem al-Dailami said that they wanted to restore the dignity of the government by killing Edmund Hull and take revenge for Abu Ali al-Harithi who was killed by an American drone in the desert of Marib in November 2002. “We have gathered around as friends and plotted to kill the US Ambassador, we talked about that,” he said.
The leading member of the group Fawaz al-Rabee was accused also of killing one soldier along with Hizam Mughalis when he tried to arrest them as well as throwing a grenade at policemen in Sana'a. However he denied and refused to talk unless he gets an advocate.
The prosecutor said that such crimes have harmed the country very much and put Yemen as target in the war on terrorism. “Such crimes did not target only specific persons but went beyond that, causing horror and terrorism for citizens,” he added, demanding severe punishments for the suspected terrorists. Reading the file of investigations and confessions of the suspects, the prosecutor said that they confessed that al-Harithi authorized Fawaz and Abu Bakr al-Rabee to attack the Hunt plane, providing with the necessary fund for that. Fawzi al-Hababi admitted that he met Abdulraheem al-Nasheri alias al-Mullah Bilal, who was arrested in the UAE and turned over to the US, asked him to get a forged passport and went to meet him in the UAE where he gave him $50,000 to give it to Walid al-Shaibah to plot for the Limburg attack carried out by Abu al-Harith al-Badwi and Naser Awadh.
The suspects appealed to the judge to give them a chance to get together and also appoint lawyers which the judge accepted and decided to run the next hearing tomorrow. The suspects seemed not to care about the trial as they were smiling and laughing during the hearing which continued for almost three hours. There was tight security measure as soldiers were heavily fencing the area round the court along with armed cars.
The trial session was attended by some people from the US embassy while journalists, except only those working for state-run media, were not allowed to take pictures of the suspected inside the court room or even outside. Journalists were very angry because of this discrimination which they said goes against the freedom of press and is a sort of harassment for them.
The trial came after significant pressure by the parliament, international and local human rights NGOs as well as demands by the relatives of the suspects. Other 12 suspected perpetrators of the terrorist attack against the USS Cole in Aden on October 12, 2000 were supposed to appear before court along with these ones. However, the Yemeni government said that they would be presented to court later after the finish of the investigation with the newly arrested suspects. The US has several times thwarted the trial of the Cole suspects under the pretext of collecting more information on the incident. Yemen said that two of the suspects including al-Nasheri, who is considered the mastermind, are in the US and that they should be turned over for trial in Yemen.

List of the suspected terrorists names 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
6- Fawaz Yahia Hasan al-Rabee
7-Abu Bakr Yahia Hasan al-Rabee, 26
8-Hizam Saleh Ali, alias Mujali
9- Ibraheem Mohammed Abduljabar, alias Abu Zaid, 25
10-Mohammed Abdullah 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 Ahmad al-Jalob, alias Abu Muslim
15- Aref Saleh Ali Mujali