x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Al Qa'eda militants get death sentence in Yemen

The two defendants, who were arrested in December, were convicted of "participating in an armed gang which carried out criminal actions".

SANA'A // Two al Qa'eda militants were sentenced to death in Yemen yesterday for killing nine people, including military and security officials. Mansour Saleh Dalil, 18, and Mubarak Ali al Shabwani, 23, were convicted of "participating in an armed gang which carried out criminal actions against military and security officials and members of the armed forces", according to Muhssein Allwan, the state security court judge.

The two defendants, who were arrested in December, killed one soldier during clashes with the army when they attacked a military vehicle carrying weapons and ammunition in July last year in Mareb province, according to the prosecutor. After the attack, police tried to arrest the militants but during the operation two policemen and another civilian were killed. Five police officers were wounded. The pair, who were dressed in blue uniform, were also accused of ambushing a security convoy, killing three senior security officials and their two bodyguards in November last year while they were driving in the southern province of Hadramaut. The verdict, which came after a 21-day trial, was issued amid an intense security presence, with armoured vehicles patrolling outside the court.

The two men, who denied the charges, shouted upon hearing the verdict: "God is great." While Dalil said he would appeal against the verdict, al Shabwani called it "unjust, null and void," rejecting the legitimacy of the court. The death sentences come two days after two security officers were killed and three others injured in clashes with suspected al Qa'eda militants in the eastern province of Hadramaut.

Yemen security forces are grappling with a number of armed groups including al Qa'eda's branch in Yemen, also known as al Qa'eda in the Arabian Peninsula. It was created out of the merger of the organisation's wings in Yemen and Saudi Arabia in early 2009. malqadhi@thenational.ae