USS Cole appeal endsNext up: verdicts [Archives:2005/808/Front Page]

January 17 2005

Mohammed Al-Qadhi
All roads to appeal for six alleged al-Qaeda militants are over.

Now all that awaits are the verdicts.

After weeks of appeals to the Sana'a Counter-Terrorism Appeal Court, it was decided Saturday that verdicts will be given in February for the six, who are charged with bombing the USS Cole in 2000.

During the final hearings the court judge Saeed al-Kattaa listened to the argument made by the defendants advocate Abdulaziz al-Samawi, as well as the arguments of the prosecution, demanding intensification of some of the sentences.

Al-Samawi argued what he has been saying for several months, that the trial of the six defendants was not performed in accordance with the law.

“I confirm that the trial was not carried out according to the law. These defendants were arrested for four years without any legal warrant or investigation, except for two weeks before the trial started,” he said.

“The law says that imprisoning people for over 24 hours without interrogation is something illegal,” he argued.

He demanded that his clients should be acquitted and compensated for the material, moral and psychological damage caused to them and that they should not be convicted “just to please the US.”

He claimed the defendants were presented as “scapegoats.”

He reiterated that his clients were subject to physical torture and psychological pressure.

“The preliminary court verdict was based on confessions made by the defendants under threat and pressure; they were even interrogated without any advocacy,” he claimed.

He refuted the preliminary court verdicts which he claimed and were passed to “please the US .”

On his part, the second prime suspect, Jamal al-Badwi, claimed that he and his fellow people will be acquitted if “the verdict is issued in accordance with the law, but we will be convicted if the verdict is passed to satisfy the Americans.”

The prosecutor reiterated that the appeal made by the defendants advocate should be rejected and that the defendant Fahd al-Qis'e should be sentenced to death as well as intensifying the jail sentence against Morad al-Sorori and Mamoon Amswah, while the death penalty sentence against al-Nashiri and al-Badwi should be endorsed.

Earlier, on Sept. 28, the court sentenced, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, held in US custody and Jamal al-Badawi, to death for orchestrating, plotting, preparing and involvement in the bombing of the US warship.

Earlier, Judge Najib al-Qaderi also sentenced Fahd al-Qis'e to 10 years in jail for filming the bombing. The court said that al- Qis'e had traveled to Afghanistan in 1997 to train at an al Qaeda terrorist camp.

A fourth convicted person Mamoon Amswah received an eight-year prison term for delivering money used in preparing and executing the attack and playing a close role in assisting al-Badawi.

Ali Mohamed Murakab and Morad al-Sorori were both sentenced to 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.

The six men were all charged with belonging to al Qaeda and playing various roles in the attack on the Cole, which was carried out by suicide bombers Ibrahim al-Thawr, Hasan al-Khamiri, and a third unnamed person who rammed an explosives-laden boat into the destroyer.

Al-Thawr and al-Khameri traveled to Bangkok and received $36,000 from al-Nasheri for the terrorist operation.

The court judge said it was clear to him that the convicted six militants were found guilty, setting up an armed gang to carry out terrorist acts, including the attack on the USS Cole.