Aden Bombing Trial Opens in Yemen
The trial of five Yemenis suspected of carrying out the bombings in the port city of Aden that targeted a church, a hotel and the office of the state news agency SABA opened Saturday in Aden, court sources said, cited by AFP.
Four men were heard by the court, while the fifth, who is on the run, is being tried in absentia, said the agency.
They are accused of "planning and carrying out bomb attacks, of disrupting public security and of sabotage."
During the audience, the chief prosecutor called for the death penalty against the five accused.
On New Year's Day, a bomb partially destroyed the wall of an Anglican church in central Aden, while a shell fired at the Continental hotel missed its target and fell into the sea.
The next day a bomb went off near the SABA office, causing a four-meter ( 4.37 yard) diameter hole in the wall.
Yemeni Interior Minister Hussein Arab had announced the arrest of a suspect in the church bombing, Nasser Awadh al-Shiba.
Police described him as a member of Aden-Abyan Islamic Army, an extremist group that includes veterans of the war in Afghanistan, the agency added.
According to the same source, the names of the four others are Anes Mohamad Abdu, Fares al-Issani, Saleh Hassan al-Dasm and Ali Said Jaayul, who is tried in absentia.
Police sources in Sanaa said Jaayul is also involved in the October 13 bombing of the British embassy in Sanaa," which came a day after the bombing of the destroyer USS Cole in Aden harbor that killed 17 US sailors.
Meanwhile, Police in Yemen arrested seven Yemeni citizens in connection with the deadly USS Cole blast, said reports.
Police are still tracking down another suspect, named "Maamun," reported the weekly Yemen Times, adding that 17 Yemenis have now been arrested in less than 10 days and 40 since the bombing occurred.
Sources told the weekly that the arrests and intensifying US-Yemeni cooperation in preliminary investigations indicate that the trial will not start any time soon.
Observers say this resulted from the US pressure on the government to further postpone the trial until sufficient evidence is gathered.
Last week, US President George W. Bush called his Yemeni counterpart, Ai Abdullah Saleh, to discuss cooperation in the Cole blast – Albawaba.com
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