SAN’A, Yemen (AP) — A Yemeni judge sentenced two men
to death and four others to prison terms ranging from five to 10
years yesterday, the first convictions and sentences for the 2000
suicide bombing of the USS Cole, an attack blamed on Osama bin
Laden’s terror network.

Saudi-born Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who is in U.S. custody at an
undisclosed location, and Jamal al-Badawi, a 35-year-old Yemeni,
were both sentenced to death for plotting, preparing and
involvement in the bombing, which killed 17 U.S. sailors as their
destroyer refueled in the southern Yemeni port of Aden.

Al-Nashiri, believed to be the mastermind of the Oct. 12, 2000,
bombing, was tried in absentia, and it was not clear how the ruling
would affect his detention. Four American officials who attended
the sentencing refused to comment on the trial, as did U.S. Embassy
officials in Yemen.

The other five defendants were present in the heavily guarded
court to hear the sentences. In reading the verdict, Judge Najib
al-Qaderi pointed to the prosecution’s statement that Badawi
and al-Nashiri bought the speedboat that the bombers used to ram
the Cole.

“This verdict is an American one and unjust,”
al-Badawi yelled from behind the bars of a courtroom cell after the
judge sentenced him to death. “There are no human rights in
the world, except for the Americans. All the Muslims in the world
are being used to serve American interests.”

The United States announced al-Nashiri’s arrest in 2002.
He was detained in the United Arab Emirates and transferred to
American custody. U.S. officials believe he is a close associate of
Saudi-born bin Laden, who is believed to have masterminded the
Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Al-Nashiri is also suspected of helping direct the 1998 bombings
of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

Death sentences are routinely handed down by Yemeni courts.
Execution is carried out by a firing squad.

Mohammed al-Badawi, brother of the Yemeni condemned to death,
denounced the decision and told The Associated Press that his
brother and the four other Yemenis sentenced yesterday would appeal
their sentences.

Al-Badawi’s father, also called Mohammed, urged
Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh to overturn the
judge’s decision, which he claimed was made “under
heavy American pressure.”

“It is a ready-made verdict and we will appeal,” the
father said.

The six men were all charged with belonging to al-Qaida and
playing various roles in the attack on the Cole, which was carried
out by suicide bombers Ibrahim al-Thawr and Hasaan al-Khamri, who
went by the alias of Abdullah al-Misawa. The two Yemenis rammed an
explosives-laden boat into the destroyer.

“The evidence obtained by the court affirms the
collaboration of the defendants in the case … which harmed
the country, its reputation and threatened its social stability and
security,” al-Qaderi told the court before issuing his
sentences.

Al-Qaderi sentenced Fahd al-Qasa to 10 years in jail for filming
the bombing, which left a gaping hole in the side of the destroyer,
which was later repaired and returned to service.

The court heard evidence that al-Qasa had traveled to
Afghanistan in 1997 to train at an al-Qaida terrorist camp, but it
was unclear how long he spent there before returning to Yemen, a
tribal-dominated country located at the southern tip of the Arabian
Peninsula.

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