Yemen acquits 19 in Al-Qaeda linked trial
They had been accused of plotting to carry out attacks to avenge CIA's killing of a top Al-Qaeda leader.india Updated: Jul 08, 2006 15:46 IST
A Yemeni court on Saturday acquitted 19 men charged with planning attacks against US interests in the Arab country due to lack of evidence.
The men, including five Saudis, had been accused of plotting to carry out attacks to avenge the US Central Intelligence Agency's killing of a top Al-Qaeda operative with an unmanned CIA plane in Yemen in 2002.
Prosecutors had said the 19 travelled to Iraq and then returned to Yemen to carry out their "mission" on the orders of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Al-Qaeda leader in Iraq who was killed in a US air raid a month ago.
"The court decided to acquit the accused due to lack of evidence," the judge said.
Yemen, the ancestral home of Saudi-born Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, joined the US-led war on terrorism after the September 11 attacks on the United States in 2001.
The country has cracked down on Al-Qaeda-linked militants following attacks at home, including the bombing in 2000 of the US warship Cole and an attack in 2002 on the French supertanker Limburg.