SANAA, (AFP) – A Yemeni security court on Tuesday sentenced three members of an alleged Al-Qaeda cell to seven years each in jail on charges of plotting attacks and possessing explosives.
The fourth defendant, a 15-year-old, was handed a two-year prison sentence.
“This verdict is unjust,” the accused shouted from the dock after the court ruling.
The three were convicted of conspiring to attack tourists and government facilities to avenge the killing by security forces of Al-Qaeda field commander Hamza al-Kaithi in August last year.
Mohammed al-Saadi, 24, Issam Gheilan, 24, Munir al-Bouni, 23, and Osama al-Saadi, 15, confessed to possessing a rocket launcher, an AK-47 assault rifle, a pistol and ammunition.
Saadi’s brother Ossama al-Saadi, 15, was sentenced to two years in jail for resisting arrest and threatening police with a hand grenade.
Court-appointed defence lawyer Nabil al-Taheri said he would appeal.
The trial of four began in November at the same time as the trial of another four Yemenis charged with plotting to form an armed group with the intention of attacking tourists, hotels and government installations.
The members of the other group are also alleged to have planned an attack on the Red Cross near the border between Yemen and Saudi Arabia.
A security official said last year that the eight were among dozens of Yemenis suspected of having links to Al-Qaeda. The authorities are still investigating charges of terrorism levelled against some 60 other people.
Yemen has been the scene of a string of attacks claimed by Al-Qaeda against oil facilities, the security forces and foreign targets including the US embassy.