Trial of 11 al-Qaeda suspects resumed [Archives:2005/817/Front Page]

February 18 2005

Mohammed Al-Qadhi
The Sana'a Counter-Terrorism court started Monday, Feb. 14 the trial of 11 al-Qaeda suspects accused of planning to form an armed gang to carry out “criminal acts” in Yemen and abroad as well as trying to join militants battling U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Ten of the 11 defendants were present at the hearing. The list includes: Mohammed Saleh al-Kazmi, 35, Abdullah Yahya al-Wadaee, 27, Mansur Nasser al-Bihani, 31, Shafeeq Ahmed Omar, 26, Ibrahim Mohammed al-Mukri, 43, Mohammed Ahmed Hatem, 30 ) all of who were born in Saudi Arabia ) and Saddam Hussein Ismail, 24, Fares Mohammed Ali, 27, Abdul Raoof Abdullah Naseeb, 30 and Ahmed Mohammed al-Kardai, 27, and Ismail al-Husami.

“The defendants took part in setting up an armed gang and had forged passports and travel documents to enable them to commit criminal acts in Yemen and abroad, which include fighting U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq,” the prosecutor said.

The deputy prosecutor claimed the 11 were trained in camps in Afghanistan between 1998 and 2002 and were plotting and raising funds for “criminal acts” inside Yemen and abroad.

The suspects were also charged to have planned traveling to Iraq to fight US-led forces. Some of them claimed they were tried and convicted in Saudi Arabia, which the prosecution said did not know about. The court asked for a letter from the chief of the intelligence to prove this claim. He also said that a letter will be sent to the lawyers syndicate to appoint 6 advocates to defend the defendants.

The prosecutor demanded the maximum punishment for all the accused, who could face up between seven and 10 years in prison

Six of the men were arrested in Saudi Arabia, two in Syria and the rest in Yemen.

The court led by judge Najeeb Qaderi adjourned the trial hearings, which were run amidst heavy security measures, until February 21.

The appeals court sentenced Saturday, February 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, assassinate US ambassador to Yemen and carry out other terrorist operations in the country.

The appeals court is expected to deliver the verdict in the Cole case on February 26.