Death Sentence for Yemeni Spy

A Yemeni man accused of spying for Israel has just been sentenced to death by Yemen’s state security court. Two other men implicated in the same case got off with a comparative slap on the wrist – three and five years in prison. According to judge Mouhssien Alwan, the evidence was “clear enough to let the court have the degree of certainty to convict them.”

Of the six suspects arrested in October 2008 over accusations of connections to the Mossad, only these three were brought to trial. Due to insufficient evidence, the other three were released. The arrest last fall was prompted by the bombing of the U.S. embassy in Sana’a, Yemen in September 2008.

Sana'a, YemenThe three men who were brought to trial were charged and convicted of reaching out to former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and offering their services in an intelligence capacity to the Mossad. It was the trio’s lead man, 26-year-old Bassam Abdullah al-Haidari, who was sentenced to death. His cohorts, 24-year-old Ali Abdullah al-Mahfal and 23-year-old Emad Ali al-Raimi, will serve five and three years, respectively, in prison.

The three convicted men allegedly made contact with Olmert via email and offered in their communication with him to work for the Mossad. The prosecutors claimed that the email solicitation was received positively by Israeli officials, including the offer by the defendants to help the Mossad.

Yemeni officials have said that al-Haidari, al-Mahfal and al-Raimi adopted the false name of ‘Islamic Jihad of Yemen’ and originally claimed that they had been responsible for the attack on the U.S. embassy, which killed 18 people altogether, including the six perpetrators. Al Qaeda later claimed responsibility for the same bombing.

image courtesy of AP

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