Two Belgians arrested in Yemen for links to al-Qaida
Two Belgians were arrested in Yemen for links to al-Qaida when they were about to leave the Arab country last month, a Yemeni human rights watchdog said on Saturday, Xinhua reported.
The two Belgian nationals, Ibrahim Bali and Ezaldain Tahiry, were arrested on April 13 by Yemeni intelligence service at Sanaa International Airport when they were about to leave Yemen, the National Organization for Defending Rights and Freedom said in a statement.
"The weeks-long arrest of the two Belgians is against the Yemeni law and we call the Yemeni public prosecution to interfere into the case and allow the defendants to face a fair trial, or release them if there were approved not guilty," it said.
Like many other foreigners, the Belgians were in Yemen to study the Arabic language, according to the statement.
The Yemeni interior ministry declined to comment and the intelligence agency could not immediately be reached for comment.
Yemen has taken precautions for al-Qaida-link foreign suspects after Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian national recruited by the slain leader of the Yemen-based al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) Anwar al-Awlaki, failed to set off an explosive device while on board a plane en route from Amsterdam, Holland to Detroit, the United States, on Dec. 25, 2009.
The AQAP has control several cities in southern and eastern Yemen after the one-year protest weakened control of the central government in remote regions.