Terror “Cell” Found Guilty but Tharhani Acquitted…hmmm

 

So the first terrorist cell has been found guilty…at least 32 of the 36…the other four were acquitted for insufficient evidence. Unlike the “2nd terrorists cell,” the one with al Khaiwani, this one was at least accused of committing some sort of real crime – the attempted attacks on oil facilities in Safer (Marib) and Dabba port (Hadhramaut) just prior to the presidential election in September of last year. Jane has good coverage of the indictments and details here.

Interesting thing is that when this happened, the conspiracy buzz from my contacts – both in the GPC and opposition – was that the attacks were orchestrated by the regime as an election stunt. This was helped by the fact that the supposed leader of the group, Hussein al Tharhani, was found to have worked for bin Shamlan…and he just happened to also be connected with Yemeni intelligence and married to the President’s cousin. And now, he has been acquitted! If it’s true, it should go down in the Saleh Cannon of brilliant political theatre. My opinion has always been that this conspiracy is a little far fetched – as it was a bit too elaborate, even for Saleh. Nevertheless, The attacks were definitely exploited in an ingenious fashion, and there was always something shady with al Tharhani’s role in the whole thing…now it has been confirmed. Genius.

As for this cell, those convicted were given sentences from 2 – 15 years.

NewsYemen highlights:

Headline in part reads: “Al Tharhani to NewsYemen: I am the victim of bin Shamlan’s downfall…”

“The specialized criminal court today, Wednesday, ruled that Hussein al Thurhani, one of the escorts of presidential candidate Faisal bin Shamlan, innocent.”

“Hussein al Thurhani told NewsYemen that the authority had made him a victim of bin Shamlan’s downfall…”

Best part is when al Tharhani’s lawyer takes a swipe at the Prez saying maybe the authority will “learn its lesson” and not circulate stories before the facts are tried in court.

الذرحاني لـ(نيوزيمن): أنا ضحية لإسقاط بن شملان, ومحاميه يطالب الرئيس إعلان البراءة مثلما كانت الإدانة

07/11/2007 
:خاص، نيوزيمن
قضت المحكمة الجزائية المتخصصة اليوم الأربعاء ببراءة (حسين الذرحاني) أحد المرافقين لمرشح اللقاء (المشترك في الانتخابات
الرئاسية (فيصل بن شملان

وقضت بحبس 32 متهما في قضية محاولة تفجير منشأتي الغاز بصافر والضبة، وبعض المنشآت المدنية بالعاصمة صنعاء العام الماضي, لفترات تتراوح بين سنتين و15 سنة, في حين قضت ببراءة الـ 4 المتهمين الباقيين لعدم كفاية الادلة

حسين الذرحاني قال لـ”نيوزيمن” ان السلطة جعلته ضحية لإسقاط فيصل بن شملان”، مضيفا “كنت واثقا من براءتي كما انا واثق “.بالشمس بالسماء الأن

“.وأكتفى بالقول “حسبي الله ونعم الوكيل على مالحقني من الأذى ومن الضرر, وأدعو الله أن يقتص لي ممن ظلمني

ولفت الذر حاني أثناء نطق المحكمة بقرارهاالى أن قضيته فضحية كبري تضاف إلى فضائح السلطة الحاكمة “ولن تزيدني إلا قوة “.وإيمان

حزام المريسي محامي الذرحاني طالب الرئيس علي عبدالله صالح إعلان براءة موكله كما سارع بإتهامه عبر وسائل الإعلام الحكومية والخارجية, وقال لـ(نيوزيمن) انه كان واثقا من براءة موكله لعدم وجود أي دليل يدينه

وأضاف “يفترض بأن تكون قصة الذرحاني درسا للسلطة في عدم تعميم أحكامها قبل التحقيق في أى قضية وقبل {Ha! Hysterical.} “.أن يقول القضاء كلمته 

newsyemen.jpg

SABA article, not surprisingly, has no mention of al Tharhani. You would think the “ringleader” getting off would be news.

 

إدانة 32 متهما وتبرئة أربعة في قضية تفجير منشأتي الغاز بصافر والضبة

 [07/نوفمبر/2007] صنعاء – سبأنت:

قضت المحكمة الجزائية المتخصصة اليوم بحبس 32متهما في قضية محاولة تفجير منشأتي الغاز بصافر والضبة، وبعض المنشآت المدنية بالعاصمة صنعاء العام الماضي ,لفترات تتراوح بين سنتين وخمسة عشر سنة,فيما برأت الاربعة المتهمين الباقيين لعدم كفاية الادلة 

وكانت المحكمة بدأت النظر في القضية ابتداء من 4 مارس الماضي بعد اتهام النيابة للمتهمين بالاشتراك في عصابة مسلحة للقيام بأعمال إجرامية بهدف الإخلال بالأمن وتعريض سلامة المجتمع ومنشآته للخطر عن طريق مهاجمة أجانب مقيمين في اليمن، واستهداف نزلاء فنادق ومجمعات سكنية من اليمنيين والأجانب

وحسب قرار الاتهام فقد قام أفراد العصابة المسلحة بإحداث تفجيرات في مصفاة الغاز الطبيعي بمنطقة صافر محافظة مأرب وخزانات النفط بميناء الضبة بالشحر محافظة حضرموت باستعمال قذائف صاروخية ( آر. بي. جي) وسيارات مجهزة بمواد متفجرة (تي. إن.تي) نتج عنها موت المجني عليه محمد صالح المخزومي أحد حراس بوابة منشآت النفط في ميناء الضبة وإلحاق أضرارا جسيمة بالمنشئتين النفطيتين

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9 Responses to “Terror “Cell” Found Guilty but Tharhani Acquitted…hmmm”

  1. Armies of Liberation » Blog Archive » Sentences in the Pre-Election Thawrted Oil Attacks Says:

    […] Yup. From Empty Quarter: NewsYemen highlights, Headline in part reads: “Al Tharhani to NewsYemen: I am the victim of bin […]

  2. jane Says:

    I guess American Jaber Elbaneh’s surrender and subsequent loose house arrest announced in May was rather loose indeed, if they tried him in absentia.

  3. Gregory Johnsen Says:

    There is a very big difference in exploiting the attacks for domestic political concerns and orchestrating the attacks.

  4. Trey Campbell Says:

    Agreed Greg. I never believed that the regime designed the attacks (despite what many Yemenis thought)…that would just be too much. I do think the regimes actions go a little deeper than simple reactionary exploitation though. Al Tharhani’s role was always just a little too convenient, I wouldn’t be surprised if they decided to connect him to the attacks after the fact, knowing he worked for the Shamlan campaign.

    Jane, do you think he’s in Yemen? I doubt it. Yemen knew when they released him that he wasn’t going to come back…I wouldn’t if I were him. He’s the one dude the US has a chance at extraditing.

  5. Gregory Johnsen Says:

    I’m sure he was connected to the attacks after the fact – it was a great way to scare international observers with the threat of al-Qaeda. I’m not sure I buy that Jabir al-Banna has left the country. He is very afraid of being extradited to the US, and part of his deal both times he surrendered himself to a “high-ranking member of the GPC” was that he wouldn’t be turned over to the US.

    Also, Jane I disagree with you when you write things like: if the Yemeni regime says it was tribesmen it almost certainly is not. There are many things going on in Yemen that are not al-Qaeda related – the issue of the oil pipeline attack is a tribal-government issue not part of some bigger conspiracy. The Yemeni government and Salih administration aren’t the purely evil force you always make them out to be. The regime and the President have done numerous things that other tribes and interest groups in Yemen not to mention the US government and others have serious problems with, but they are pursuing their own interests not acting as an evil force.

  6. jane Says:

    Jaber Elbaneh? I think he’s in Yemen.

  7. Trey Campbell Says:

    As an American citizen though, I’m not sure the regime could hide behind the constitutional argument so completely as far as extradition is concerned…especially after the conter-reaction in Yemen to the American reaction to news of JB’s release. I think the regime’s response was actually really telling – they became very worried, very fast. And even if they didn’t reverse a decision on his release, they at least made a very public, almost desperate appeal as to his status – which is very out of character. Basically, even though he may have assurances about extradition, I’m not sure I would trust those if I were him.

    As for the tribal vs. AQ issue…I think at time the regime has a vested intrist in downplaying AQ presence, prefering to blame events on tribal forces – but at times they also have an interest in hyping AQ presence, trying to caste tribal disputes with the government into the broader terrorism debate. I think that some areas are easier to sort out the truth than others – the Shabwa/Marib area is not one of them. I think there are very grey lines up there between sympathizers and members.

  8. Gregory Johnsen Says:

    I agree on the fuzzy line between supporters and members – the suicide bomber in the attack in July and the one who was supposedly being groomed for another attack who was killed in August are, I think, examples of this. (This also, I think, goes back quite a while. I’ve been reading through a number of back issues of al-Jihad from the late 1980s and they have a number of different biographies of Yemeni martyrs, many of these men are from the Marib area.)

    Did you see the al-Wasat article on al-Qaeda denying responsibility for the attack on the oil pipeline?

    I would doubt very much if Salih could turn over al-Badawi given the firestorm that errupted over the al-Mu’ayyad case. I agree with your view that the government goes back and forth between hyping the al-Qaeda presence and then downplaying the same factors. Part of this, I think, stems from the fact that a great deal of its aid is for security assistance. This is often the situation when Yemen makes its rather weak case to join the GCC – security is the threat it worries everyone with.

  9. Trey Campbell Says:

    Yes, there is no way he can give up al Badawi…at least at this point, and probably never now. He wouldn’t want to create precedent. My point was only that the US may be able to put enough pressure on the regime to get Elbaneh at a future point – had he turned himself in – and that Jaber probably knows this.

    I didn’t see the al Wasat article – I’m going to go read it now – but I’m not surprised. I think AQ-Yemen raised the bar with the Spaniard bombing, and I don’t think they would be satisfied with going back to simple pipeline attacks.

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