Yemeni state security court jails 32 men in plot against oil facilities

Nov 08, 2007 01:00 AM

A Yemeni state security court handed down jail sentences ranging from 2 to 15 years on 32 men convicted of plotting terror attacks including two car bombs, on oil facilities in 2006.
The convicts included the al-Qaeda leader in Yemen Nasser al-Wuhaishi, and the group's second-in-command Qassim al-Raimi, who received 15-year jail term each, for planning two car bomb attacks on two oil facilities in the south-eastern province of Hadhramout and the north-eastern province of Marib.

The September 2006 attacks with four pick-up trucks left four attackers and a security guard dead.
Four other leading al-Qaeda members received prison sentences of 10-15 years for rules in preparing for the two bombings. Thirty other convicts got prison terms of 2 to 8 years for lesser rules in the alleged plots. The men were also charged with "taking part in forming an armed band to carry out sabotage and criminal acts and to attack foreigners living in Yemen."

Prosecutors told the court the men had prepared explosives, firearms, vehicles, masks to use them in the attacks. Prosecutors said the 36 defendants had provided the suicide oil attackers with logistic support. They said the suspects also involved in planning bomb attacks in mid 2006 against a lucrative hotel in Sana'a frequented by foreigners and an apartment compound housing American diplomats as well as the building of the Yemeni Businessmen Board.
The court acquitted four defendants for the lack of sufficient evidence. Among them was Hussein al-Dharhani, a bodyguard of the opposition's candidate to the presidential elections that was held in last September, Faisal bin Shamaln.

Al-Dharhani, whose arrest two days ahead of the voting day was blasted by opposition leaders as a political play, was charged with giving shelter to four of the suspects.
Presiding judge Radhwan al-Namir said the court found the charge against al-Dharhani "was not compatible with the charge upon which he was arrested." Prosecutors attending the verdict session said they would appeal it.
"These penalties do not correspond with the crimes they (convicts) committed," prosecutor Khaled al-Mawri told the court shortly after the ruling was pronounced.

When the trial began last March, thirteen of the defendants were brought to the court. Six others were tried in absentia.
All the present defendants had pleaded not guilty and ten of them said they had made confessions under duress during police interrogation.

Source / Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH
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