Yemeni court issues death sentence in spying case

March 23rd, 2009 - 5:31 pm ICT by IANS  

Ehud Olmert Sana’a (Yemen), March 23 (DPA) Yemen’s state security court has issued a death sentence in the case of a man accused of spying for Israel. Two other men received jail sentences of three and five years in the same case.
Presiding judge Mouhssien Alwan said the court convicted the trio after it checked the evidence and found out that it was “clear enough to let the court have the degree of certainty to convict them”.

The prosecution has charged the three young men with establishing contacts with Israel’s former prime minister Ehud Olmert, offering to work as agents for the Mossad intelligence agency.

The group’s leader, Bassam Abdullah al-Haidari, 26, received the death sentence. Ali Abdullah al-Mahfal, 24, received a five-year jail sentence, while Emad Ali al-Raimi, 23, got a three-year jail term.

“This is an unfair ruling, this is not the court’s verdict,” al-Haidari shouted at the presiding judge after he delivered the verdict.

“I seek God’s help against you. You will be held accountable someday for this unjust ruling,” al-Mahfal shouted. The three convicts said they would appeal the verdict.

Prosecutors have said the group had sent letters by email to the Israeli premier, offering to work for Mossad.

They said the defendants had received a positive reply from Israeli officials, who allegedly welcomed the offer.

The three men were part of a group of six suspects arrested last October over alleged links with Mossad. The three others were released before the trial, due to a lack of evidence.

The arrests followed the bombing of the US embassy in Sana’a last September, the responsibility for which was later claimed by Al-Qaeda.

Officials have said the group sentenced Monday operated under a fake name, the “Islamic Jihad of Yemen”, and issued false statements claiming responsibility for the US embassy attack, in which 18 people were killed, including six attackers.

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