Yemen Renews Demand of Extraditing Abu Al-Hamzah [Archives:2001/42/Front Page]
The government of Yemen again requested the British government to extradite Mustafa of Ansar Al-Shariah Group based in London. Yemen accuses him of inciting terrorist attacks in the country. Official sources confirmed this request to Britain, asking for the trial of Abu Al-Hamzah before a Yemeni court for involvement in terrorist acts in Yemen during the last few years. The sources said Yemen now has enough evidence to prove his connection to these acts, such as the kidnapping incident of 16 tourists in Abyan in which three Brits and an Australian were killed. Abu Al-Hassan Al-Mihdar, leader of the Aden-Abyan military Army was detained and sentenced to death in October 1999 for carrying out the operation. Yemen also says that Abu Al-Hassan has links to the terrorist group that was planning to bomb several important institutions in Aden. The police discovered the plot and arrested these terrorists, bringing them to justice. They are now in prisons in Aden following their trial. One of these terrorists was Abu Al-Hamzah’s son. The Minister of Interior Dr. Rashad Al-Alimi, said that London has refused to extradite him despite the fact that the British are convinced of the evidence.
The British Ambassador to Yemen, Ms. Frances Guy, in an interview that the Yemen Times published in the beginning of this month, said the Yemeni government requested the extradition of Abu Al-Hamza’a some months ago. “The answer is that he is a British citizen, and we have no extradition treaty with Yemen,” she observed. She said they encouraged the Yemeni authorities to give them as much information as possible about Abu Al-Hamza’a so that they can deal with him in Britain in light of the new anti-terrorism legislation issued last February. “We have some information, but unfortunately, not enough to arrest him,” she noted, adding, “We have attempted to find a case against him that will stand up in an English court, but we have been unable to do so.”
When the request of Yemen was first refused, Yemen suggested that Abu Al-Hamza’a be tried in Britain, but with no response. They previously offered London extradition of their prisoners in Aden, who would spend their the rest of their sentence in British prisons in return for the extradition of Abu-Al-Aamza’a to the Yemeni authorities. But to no avail!
This is why the Yemeni government has not responded to the appeal message relating to the release of the British prisoners in Aden. The appeal letter was officially sent to the Yemeni government last year, yet, the British ambassador confirmed, “There has been no official response to it.”
The Yemeni-British relationship has been greatly affected by the Abyan terrorist incident. However, since last year there have been intensive efforts on both sides to bridge the gap and start on a new foot.