Yemen: Man sentenced to death for contacting Israeli PM
A Yemeni court on Monday condemned an Islamist to death for establishing contact with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and offering to collaborate with Tel Aviv. Bassam al-Haidari, 26, was found guilty of writing directly to the prime minister of Israel by email, offering to work for the Jewish state.
Another defendant Imad al-Rimi, 23, was sentenced to five years in prison and Ali al-Mahfal, 24, to three.
"The court... sentences the first defendant to death in the case of making illegal contact with the Zionist Jewish Israeli entity," judge Hassan Elwan said.
"This is unfair, you have sentenced me without any proof of these accusations," Mahfal shouted from the caged dock, according to AFP. The defendants said they wanted to appeal.
The three men went on trial in January, accused of operating under the name of the little-known Organisation of Islamic Jihad and spreading false news of attacks on government buildings, embassies and foreign interests in Yemen in 2008.
The prosecution charged Haidari with corresponding with Olmert through emails, one of which said: "We are the Organisation of Islamic Jihad and you are Jews, but you are honest, and we are ready to do anything."
The charge sheet said Olmert responded to Haidari, also known as Abu al-Ghaith, welcoming his offer to collaborate. "We are ready to support you to become an obstacle in the Middle East. We will support you as an agent," Olmert was quoted as writing.
The group also claimed in Internet messages signed by Abu al-Gaith that it prepared 16 car bombs to attack government buildings and embassies, according to the prosecution.