Terrorists get Death penalties [Archives:2005/814/Front Page]

February 7 2005
Convicts talk while waiting for their verdicts to be passed. Yemen Times photo by Mohamed al-Qadhi
Convicts talk while waiting for their verdicts to be passed. Yemen Times photo by Mohamed al-Qadhi
Mohammed Al-Qadhi
Two Yemeni terrorists were sentenced to death in a Sana'a court Saturday.

The Sana'a Counter-Terrorism Appeal court also jailed an additional 13 al-Qaeda militants.

The convicted terrorists were accused of a range of crimes, including bombing the French oil tanker Limburg, plotting to blow up five Western embassies and plotting to assassinate the US ambassador, plus other attacks and terrorist operations in Yemen.

The court, led by Judge Saeed al-Qatta sentenced, Fawaz al-Rabee and convict Hizam Saleh Mujali to death. Al-Rabee had previously been sentenced to 10 years.

They were convicted of killing a soldier Hameed Khasroof, and pledging to kill Americans.

The court raised from 10 to 15 years the jail terms for Omar Saeed Jarallah and Fawzi al-Hababi.

It endorsed the 10 years jail terms for Mohammed Saeed Ali al-Amari, Fawzi Yahia al-Hababi, and Yasser Ali Salem (tried in absentia) as well as Abu Bakr al-Rabee.

The court also endorsed the same verdicts against the rest of the militants; the five militants: Ibraheem Mohammed al-Huwaidi, Aref Saleh Ali Mujali, Mohammed Abdullah al-Dailami, Abdulghani Ali Hussein Kaifan, and Kasem Yahia al-Raimee, who were sentenced to five years in prison.

The two defendants, Khaled Ahmad al-Jalob and Saleem Mohammed Ali al-Dailami, were sentenced to three years in prison for falsifying documents relating to the various attacks.

“God is great, there is no god but God and America is the enemy of God,” the men shouted after sentencing.

The relatives of the convicts condemned the verdicts and described them as “groundless.”.

“This is unjust; the prosecution got a landslide victory, despite the fact that it provided no evidence against them. The court was subject to pressure by the authorities and the US,” said the father of Fawaz Yahia al-Rabee, to Yemen Times.

Hassan, brother of Fawaz, could not express his sadness and anger over the verdict but to weep. Other relatives of the convicts also condemned the verdicts and said they would resort to the Supreme Court which can overturn the rulings.

During the final hearing that was run on Dec. 25, a heated debate went on between the prosecutors and the advocate Abdulaziz Al-Samawi.

“Those suspects are mere scapegoats and are innocent of the charges presented.” Al-Samawi said.

He said that his clients are “victims of the US arrogance under the pretext of what is called the war on terrorism.”

Fawaz al-Rabee admitted his connection and relationship with al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, but he denied that he killed the soldier Hameed Khasroof, and hence protested the prosecution's demand to have his 10-year imprisonment sentence be intensified to the death penalty.

Al-Rabee and the other three defendants claimed during their appeal that the confessions they made during interrogations were taken by force, and that they were beaten up and tortured.

Ibraheem Huwaidi said that he tried to commit suicide twice due to the psychological pressure and torture he faced at the intelligence prison.

During the earlier appeal hearings, the prosecution presented the evidences that made it appeal the primary court verdict and demand intensification of the jail sentence to the death penalty against some of the suspects.

The prosecutor said that the law does not differentiate between those people who forge official documents to hide from security or for any other reasons. He also said that the suspects claim that their plan to assassinate the former US ambassador Edmund Hull was just a mere talk and does not exempt them from punishment as long as they agreed to carry out a criminal act.

The prosecution also refuted the appeals made by eight of the defendants during the last six hearings and described them as baseless.

“It is not true that they made confessions under force and threat; the complete verdict was not based only on such confessions but on other evidences, testimonies of the witnesses, experts' reports and others,” chief prosecutor Saeed al-Akil said.

He demanded the court that verdicts against all defendants be intensified, based on the evidences presented earlier as there is no reason to lessen the verdicts.

Some of the defendants expressed strong support al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden during the trial sessions.

During the last hearing the director of the legal department at the US embassy in Sana'a presented a request to the court supporting the lawsuit made against the defendants, and in the name of the Hunt Oil Company whose helicopter was shot by some of the suspects.

Defendants previously denied their involvement in these operations. They said the confessions they made were taken by force and that they were subject to beating and torture. They disclosed that they reached an agreement with cleric Hamoud al-Hittar, head of the dialogue committee with extremists, to give up their fanatic views and take the path of tolerance.

“Please help us; we do not have any devastating ideas,” Ibraheem Huawaidi told the judge while reading his appeal. He refuted all allegations made by the prosecution against him. “I do refute and deny all allegations about my involvement in an armed gang or attacking Western embassies or the US embassy,” he said.

Kasem al-Raimi requested that the court order the prosecution to bring evidence of its charges against him.

The other five defendants refused to comment on the appeal of the prosecution without having advocacy.

When the judge offered the defendants to response to the accusations in writing, they used the platform to openly send a political message saying that the trial was only to please the US.

They said that the whole trial is a mere scenario to satisfy the superpower adding that it is a shame to do so in a time 'the USA is committing massacres in Iraq and the Muslim world'.