SAN`A, Yemen, AP -A suspected al-Qaida ally was executed by a Yemeni firing squad Sunday after being convicted of killing a prominent politician and plotting a deadly attack on three American missionaries in 2002.
Ali al-Jarallah was blindfolded and shot in the courtyard of the central prison in the capital, San`a, in the presence of judiciary officials, several reporters and the victim”s lawyer.
Al-Jarallah was convicted in 2003 of helping plot the attack that killed three missionaries in a Yemeni hospital. He also was convicted of murdering Jarallah Omar, the Yemeni Socialist Party”s deputy secretary-general, a few days earlier, and forming a terror cell to buy weapons with the intention of killing other local officials and foreigners.
Yemeni officials have said al-Jarallah may be linked to the al-Qaida terror network headed by Osama bin Laden, who has Yemeni ancestral roots.
Police found bin Laden audiotapes at the home of militant Abed Abdul Razak Kamel, who walked through a security checkpoint on Dec. 30, 2002, with a concealed weapon and opened fire at a hospital staff meeting.
Hospital director William E. Koehn, 60, of Kansas; purchasing agent Kathleen A. Gariety, 53, of Wauwatosa, Wis.; and Dr. Martha C. Myers, 57, of Montgomery, Ala., were killed.
Kamel told a court he coordinated his attack with al-Jarallah. He was sentenced to death but no date has been set for his execution.
A court overturned the verdicts and prison sentences of six men convicted of aiding al-Jarallah in Omar”s assassination. Mohammed al-Mikhlafy, the lawyer representing Omar”s family, criticized the court”s decision.
Yemen has long had a reputation of tolerating lawlessness and Islamic militancy. It has witnessed many attacks on foreign targets, including the 2000 bombing of the destroyer USS Cole that killed 17 American sailors.