UPDATE on AQ Cell Verdict: Now in English

English media is putting out first reports on the guilty virdicts…nobody has picked up on the al Tharhani angle yet though…I doubt if international press will.

Yemen sentences 30 Al Qaeda suspects to jail

November 7, 2007 

SANAA — A Yemeni court Wednesday sentenced 30 Yemenis to between two and 15 years in prison for planning and carrying out attacks for Al Qaeda.

Al Qaeda has been blamed for a series of attacks in Yemen, the ancestral homeland of its leader, Osama Bin Laden.

The convicts, part of a group of 36 accused of being members of the Yemeni branch of Al Qaeda, launched an abortive twin attack in September 2006 on an oil refinery at Marib, 170 kilometers (105 miles) east of the capital Sanaa.

Petrol storage tanks at a terminal operated by the Canadian firm Nexen in southeastern Hadramut province were also targeted.

Four of the suspects were acquitted, while the court ordered the release of two others on time already served since September 2006.

Six of the main defendants were tried in absentia, although two of them – Jaber Al Banna and Mohammed Al Omdah – had recently turned themselves in, while another, Hamza Al Qaeiti, was killed in a confrontation with the police.

Fugitives Nasser Al Wehaishi and Kassem Al Raimi and Ibrahim Al Huwaidi, three of the most wanted militants in the impoverished Arabian Peninsula country, each received a 15-year jail term.

The six tried in absentia were among a group of 23 Al Qaeda suspects who escaped from a Sanaa prison in February 2006. The other prison escapees have since turned themselves in, been arrested, or killed.

Raimi and Wehaishi have also been accused by the interior ministry of masterminding a July 2 suicide bombing in Marib that killed eight Spanish tourists and two local drivers.

Twenty-nine defendants appeared in court, while one, who was found not guilty, did not show up for health reasons.

Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the October 2000 suicide bombing of the destroyer USS Cole off the southern Yemeni port city of Aden that killed 17 American sailors.

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