Yemeni court upholds jail sentence for kidnappers of French tourists
( dpa ) - A Yemeni state security court of appeals confirmed on Sunday a 12-year jail sentence for two young tribesmen over the kidnapping four French tourists and holding them hostage for two weeks in 2006.
Rajih Mohammad Ahmed Hadi, 24, and Ahmed Haidara Laswad, 23, were convicted last May by a lower state security of "forming an armed gang to abduct tourists at gun point."
The kidnapping occurred in Shabwa province, about 460 kilometres south of the capital Sana'a, by armed clansmen seeking to press Yemeni authorities to release five jailed fellow clan members.
Tribal sources said that Yemeni parliamentarians and tribal chieftains secured the hostages' release after a deal was brokered with the kidnappers.
The two convicts belong to the al-Abdullah clan, the same clan that kidnapped and held a German diplomat, his wife and three sons and four Italian tourists for several days in December 2005.
Armed tribesmen from impoverished areas of Yemen often take hostages and use them as bargaining chips with the government to press for aid, jobs or the release of detained fellow clansmen.
More than 200 foreigners have been kidnapped since 1991 in Yemen, almost all released unharmed through mediation involving tribal leaders.
In 1998, an Islamic militant group kidnapped 16 Western tourists, four of whom died in a botched rescue attempt by police forces, and in 2000 a Norwegian diplomat was killed in a similar rescue attempt.