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Yemen’s Criminal Code Finds Coup leaders Guilty of ‘National Treason’ | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The national emblem of Yemen depicts a golden eagle with a scroll between its claws. On the scroll is written the name of the country in Arabic, Al-Jumhuriyyah Al-Yamaniyah (“The Yemeni Republic”), Asharq Al-Awsat Archives

Riyadh – Coup leaders in Yemen, which have been the front of a militia movement composed of Iran-allied Houthis and armed loyalists backing ousted president Ali Abdulah Saleh, are expected to face severe sentences, amounting to death penalties served under Article 128 of the national penal code.

Verdicts condemned putschist leaders of national treason and sustaining uncertified communication with a foreign state.

According to the University of Aden law Professor Dr. Fahad Hadi Habtoor, Houthi militiamen and Saleh loyalists have carried out acts of aggression against the national political state and unwarrantedly occupied public service institutions and assets, therefore are guilty of crimes punishable by law.

“The people of Yemen have held a comprehensive national dialogue that included all political and social blocs and had agreed that the state should be divided into a federation of six provinces. On that premise, an expert committee was formed and tasked with the legislature drafting of the federal state constitution, defining its political, economic, social and cultural regulations, rights and citizen accountability,” said Professor Habtoor.

“As the constitution was empowered and put into effect, Houthi and pro-Saleh militias opposed. They removed themselves from the conventional outcomes of the political process and national consensus on settlement references,” Professor Habtoor explained.

For his part, University of Aden criminal law professor Dr. Saleh Basrada said putschists committed several crimes punishable by the Yemen criminal code, citing Article 128 on uncertified communication with a foreign state.

Professor Basrada stressed that personal correspondence with foreign countries is a crime punishable by death in Yemeni law, and includes all those who incite on or participated in committing the felony. Given that the crime endangers public safety, the punishment affects both partner and instigator. Based on that, former president Ali Abdullah Saleh is not absolved from conviction.

Professor Habtoor considered insurgency members guilty of compromising national security.

He pointed out that Article 131 of the criminal code stipulates that any party who attempts or commits violent acts or threats through illegal means shall be sentenced to prison for a period ranging between 3-10 years. The same sentence is served to who impede on legislature and executive authority.

Habtoor also pointed out that “insurgents, in their attempt at a powergrab, committed multiple murders and assassination of security forces officers and the armed forces are performing their national duty.”

They attacked and overran the capital and state institutions, he added.

Insurgents have obstructed law implementation and disrupted constitutional action, as well as unlawfully enforcing a change to constitutional authorities. “These committed aggressions and offenses are punishable by law according to stipulations in Article 131.”

Iran-allied Houthis along with pro-Saleh combatants, since March 2015, have been leading a nationwide coup in order to topple the internationally recognized and constitutionally elected President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi. Iran has played a major part in arming, funding and training Houthi militiamen who now are accused of national treason of enforcing a foreign agenda.

Government forces, backed by the air power of an Arab coalition led by Saudi Arabia, have been regaining control over major tracts of land, clearing insurgency influence.

Advances recorded by pro-legitimacy forces are expected to force insurgents to commit to the peace process.