CNN reported 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.
This is not good.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. Critics say the decision points to the Yemeni president's bid to win the radical Islamic vote ahead of elections in September.
If he wins, will he still back the radicals? And if he does not win, what will the new President do?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.
Another strike against Sharia law.Mohammed al-Maqaleh, an expert in Islamist affairs who frequently appears in Yemeni media, described the verdict as a "shock."
To me as well."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. Saleh has long-standing ties with Islamic militants, who have stood by the administration since the 1980s. They sided with his northern government in the 1994 civil war and the successful battle against secessionists from the secular south