It’s a difficult thing to think that 19 possibly al Qaeda members are going to get off with no charges, but that’s the law…in Yemen.
SAN’A, Yemen (AP) — The trial of 19 alleged al Qaeda members had been designed to showcase how serious Yemen was in the fight against terror. But the Islamic militants, accused of plotting to assassinate Westerners and blow up a hotel frequented by Americans, were all acquitted for lack of proof, the presiding judge ruled Saturday.
Prosecutors had failed to provide “adequate evidence that the defendants were plotting attacks against foreigners or planning to assassinate Americans in Yemen,” the verdict said.
Ahh yes, but what’s the real reason?
Critics say the decision points to the Yemeni president’s bid to win the radical Islamic vote ahead of elections in September.
Several of the defendants did confess to having been in Iraq to fight U.S. troops there and had Iraqi stamps on their passport, the court heard. “But this does not violate [Yemeni] law,” the judge said.
“Islamic Sharia law permits jihad against occupiers,” he said.
Mohammed al-Maqaleh, an expert in Islamist affairs who frequently appears in Yemeni media, described the verdict as a “shock.”
“The judiciary is collaborating with the Islamist extremists and this verdict is politicized,” al-Maqaleh said on the telephone. He said it was another sign that President Ali Abdullah Saleh was trying to drum up support from Muslim radicals ahead of the coming presidential elections.
Long story short…give the base what they want.
What’s ironic is that in this country, where our freedoms are far more than those in Yemen, these suspected al Qaeda members would be labelled enemy combatants and wouldn’t have access to lawyers.
Given the choice between this decision in Yemen and our policy, which would you choose?