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DATE=5/5/99 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT NUMBER=2-248986 TITLE=YEMEN SENTENCES (L) BYLINE=SCOTT BOBB DATELINE=CAIRO CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: A COURT IN YEMEN HAS SENTENCED THREE ISLAMIC MILITANTS TO DEATH FOR KIDNAPPING 16 FOREIGN TOURISTS LAST YEAR. AS V-O-A CORRESPONDENT SCOTT BOBB REPORTS FROM OUR MIDDLE EAST BUREAU, FOUR TOURISTS WERE KILLED IN A RESCUE ATTEMPT BY YEMENI AUTHORITIES. TEXT: THE YEMENI JUDGE (WEDNESDAY) PASSED THE DEATH SENTENCE ON THREE DEFENDANTS AND SENTENCED ANOTHER TO 20 YEARS IN PRISON. T HE JUDGE ACQUITTED THE REMAINING 10 DEFENDANTS, NINE OF WHOM WERE TRIED IN ABSENTIA. THE DEFENDANTS WERE CHARGED WITH KIDNAPPING, SABOTAGE, AND TRYING TO DESTABILIZE THE GOVERNMENT. DEFENSE LAWYERS SAY THEY WILL APPEAL THE VERDICTS. THE LEADER OF THE GROUP RESPONDED BY CALLING ON SUPPORTERS TO RESUME THEIR STRUGGLE AGAINST THE WEST WITHIN 20 DAYS. THE GROUP LAST DECEMBER KIDNAPPED 16 TOURISTS FROM BRITAIN, AUSTRALIA AND THE UNITED STATES. SECURITY FORCES SUBSEQUENTLY LAUNCHED AN ASSAULT TO FREE THEM IN WHICH FOUR TOURISTS AND THREE KIDNAPPERS WERE KILLED. THE MILITANTS BELONG TO A GROUP CALLED THE ADEN-ABYAN ISLAMIC ARMY WHICH OPPOSES WESTERN POLICIES AND THE WESTERN MILITARY PRESENCE IN THE MIDDLE EAST. IT IS SAID TO BE ASSOCIATED WITH THE ISLAMIC JIHAD GROUP, WHICH HAS COME UNDER INCREASING PRESSURE FROM SECURITY FORCES IN A NUMBER OF COUNTRIES IN THE REGION. A SEPARATE GROUP OF 10 OTHER DEFENDANTS ARE ALSO ON TRIAL IN YEMEN ON CHARGES OF PLOTTING A BOMBING CAMPAIGN IN THE COUNTRY. SUPPORTERS OF THIS GROUP HAVE WARNED TOURISTS TO STOP VISITING YEMEN. DOZENS OF TOURISTS HAVE BEEN KIDNAPPED IN YEMEN IN RECENT YEARS, USUALLY BY DISGRUNTLED CITIZENS WITH GRIEVANCES AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT. THE KIDNAPPINGS LAST DECEMBER WERE THE FIRST BY AN ISLAMIC GROUP AND WERE REPORTEDLY AIMED AT OBTAINING THE RELEASE OF AN IMPRISONED COLLEAGUE. (SIGNED) NEB/SB/JWH 05-May-99 8:08 AM EDT (1208 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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