SAN’A, Yemen (AP) – An appeal court endorsed Saturday a ruling by a lower court to acquit 19 alleged al-Qaeda members who were accused of plotting to assassinate Westerners and blow up a hotel frequented by Americans.The trial was widely seen as a showcase of how serious Yemen was in the fight against terror.
The San’a appeal court cited lack of evidence in the case and acquitted the alleged Islamic militants on the charges. However, the presiding judge sentenced six of the defendants for various prison sentence on charges of forging official documents.
Several of the defendants reportedly confessed during the trial that of having been in Iraq to fight US troops there.
During their four-month trial the suspected terrorists maintained innocence, several stating they were arrested simply because they had fought in Iraq.
The state prosecutor appealed the earlier acquittal and the defendants remained in cellls at the intelligence services’ jail where they have been held for more than two years.