Yemen court hands death sentence in Israel spy case

 @ibtimes
on March 23 2009 9:18 AM

A Yemeni court sentenced an Islamist to death and handed down jail sentences against two others on Monday after convicting them of seeking to work for Israeli intelligence services.

Many Arab countries, including Yemen, regard Israel as an enemy for occupying Arab land.

This is an unfair ruling, shouted Bassam al-Haidari when judge Mohsen Elwan sentenced him to death. Elwan ruled that Ali al-Mahfal be imprisoned for five years and Ammar al-Raimi for three years.

The three were charged with emailing the office of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and offering to work for the intelligence service of the Jewish state.

The court has found that the evidence is reliable and all the charges in the prosecution report are correct, Elwan said.

The three men, who deny the charges and say they were fabricated by an officer they had a dispute with, said they will appeal against the ruling.

I seek God's help against you, Raimi told the judge.

The men, arrested last year, were convicted of demanding money from the embassies of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The were accused in January of claiming, in the name of a group calling itself Islamic Jihad, an attack on the U.S. embassy that killed 19 people in September.

The twin suicide car bombings on the U.S. embassy, later claimed by al Qaeda in Yemen, were the biggest militant operation in the poor Arab state since the attacks on the French tanker Limburg in 2002 and the U.S. warship Cole in 2000.

The government joined the U.S.-led war against terrorism following the September 11 attacks in 2001. It has jailed scores of militants in connection with bombings of Western targets and clashes with the authorities, but is still viewed in the West as a haven for Islamist militants.

(Reporting by Mohammed Sudam; Writing by Inal Ersan; Editing by Charles Dick)

Share this article