Yemen Suggests Abu Al-Hamza Be Tried in Yemen & British Prisoners Complete Their Sentence in the UK [Archives:2001/18/Front Page]
Yemen official sources said that the Yemeni government proposed the extradite of the 5 British prisoners convicted of terrorism in Aden in exchange of fundamentalist Islamic leader Abu Hamza Al-Masri.
The sources added that President Ali Abdullah Saleh sent a letter to the British government indicating Yemen’s willingness to hand over the British prisoners to serve their sentences in the UK provided that London hands Abu Al-Hamza Al-Masri over to the Yemeni government, which accuses him of supporting terrorist groups operating in Yemen.
According to the sources, the Yemeni government said that it will guarantee a fair and just trial for Abu Al-Hamza. And that he can have Yemeni or British lawyers for his defense.
The Yemeni government had requested the British government to hand Abu Hamza to Yemen to be triad according to Yemeni law, but the request was rejected.
On the other hand, the UK had requested Yemen to pass an amnesty communiqué and send the 5 prisoners back home. The former British ambassador to Yemen, Mr. Vic Henderson confirmed to the Yemen Times last in an interview last January that an appeal letter from the prisoners’ families was submitted through diplomatic channels to the Yemeni government and that they hoped president Saleh would consider it sympathetically.
The British prisoners were arrested along with others on December 23, 1998 for having formed an armed gang and carrying out terrorist acts. They were tried and given imprisonment sentences ranging from three to seven years. Some of the arrested suspects had completed their terms and went back home. Among the remaining prisoners are two sons of Abu Al-Hamza who is wanted by the Yemeni government for being behind many terrorist explosions.
British officials reportedly said that they cannot arrest him without any legal warrant according to the British law, and hence it is also expected that this latest proposal of the Yemen government would be rejected.