Yemeni court confirms death sentences for al-Qaida members over attacks
A Yemeni security appeal court on Sunday upheld death sentences against four Yemenis of a criminal gang convicted of linking to al-Qaida and launching attacks against western interests, Xinhua reported.
Official Saba news agency reported that the four leaders of the gang, Rawi Ahmed al-Saiary, Sultan Ali al-Saiary, Said Naif Sankar and Ali Muhsin al-Akbary received confirmed sentences of death penalty after the court's verdict said they were convicted of having links with al-Qaida group in Yemen and involved in several attacks against western interests.
The court's verdict also reversed the death sentences against gang members Haitham bin Saeid and Khaled Ba-Taisto to 12 years in jail for involving in the killing of two Belgian tourists in southeastern province of Hadramout in 2008.
In January 2008, two Belgian tourists along with their three Yemeni drivers were killed in a suicide bomb attack carried out by al-Qaida militants in Hadramout.
Besides, the verdict reduced the jail terms for four Syrian members of the group from 15 to 10 years each and ordered them to be deported to their homeland after serving the jail terms.
The charges of the convicted group includes carrying out a mortar attack against the U.S. Embassy's building in Sanaa in March 2008, leaving three Yemeni security guards and four passers- by dead, as well as firing mortar shells on the Italian Embassy in Sanaa on April 30, 2008.
Yemen, the ancestral homeland of al-Qaida network leader Osama bin Laden, has intensified security operations and air raids against terrorist groups, after the Yemen-based al-Qaida wing claimed responsibility for a failed Christmas Day attempt to blow up a U.S. passenger plane bound for Detroit last year.