A state security court on Tuesday sentenced a leader of the pro-independence Southern Movement to 10 years in prison over anti-national unity criminal acts, official Saba news agency reported.
The Sanaa-based court said Ahmed Ba-Muallim, a former parliamentarian and a leader of the separatist Southern Movement, has been proven guilty of calling for armed insurrection against the government and spreading hatred against the unity, Xinhua reported.
After hearing his verdict, Ba-Muallim told the judge that he would not appeal against the sentence but he also said the verdict would not stop him from continuing his peaceful struggle against the government, according to local media.
Ba-Muallim is a leading activist of the Southern Movement that calls for seceding the south from the north. He was arrested in the southeastern province of Hadramout on April 15, 2009.
The sentence coincided with another sentence issued on Tuesday by a court in Aden, in the southern rim of Yemen, against a retired Brigadier General Ali Mohammed al-Saadi over the same charges.
Northern and southern Yemen were unified in 1990 according to a deal between the People's General Congress and the Yemeni Socialist Party. However, the deal fell apart, leading to a crisis between the two allies, which developed into a civil war in 1994.
Nowadays, voices rise in South Yemen where secessionist sentiments are simmering, calling for disengagement from the north and the restoration of the southern state.
The Sanaa government carried out several similar security sweeps over the past month in an attempt to rein in massive rallies which were held across the southern provinces aimed to rally international support for their cause.