News / Middle East

Yemen Puts US-Born Terrorist Suspect on Trial in Absentia

A Yemeni policeman guards the state security court in San'a, Yemen, as that nation's government puts US-born radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki on trial in absentia, 02 Nov 2010
A Yemeni policeman guards the state security court in San'a, Yemen, as that nation's government puts US-born radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki on trial in absentia, 02 Nov 2010

Yemeni prosecutors have charged U.S.-born hardline Islamic militant Anwar al-Awlaki with plotting to kill foreigners and with belonging to al-Qaida.

The Yemeni decision to put U.S.-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki on trial follows a long period of hesitation by the government.  The move comes amid strong international pressure on Yemen to act following revelation of a new al-Qaida mail-bomb plot last week.

Charges were filed against al-Awlaki and two other men in the killing of a French security guard last month outside the capital Sana'a.

Al-Awlaki's father is a prominent politician and Yemeni officials have long insisted that proof of his son's activities was needed before any attempt was made to arrest him or put him on trail.  The younger Awlaki is thought to be hiding in the mountains of Yemen's Shabwa province.

Al-Awlaki has made numerous sermons calling for jihad or holy war against the United States.  Tapes of those sermons, in English, are available on the Internet and in many mosques.

U.S. investigators say the fugitive cleric has ties to the Muslim psychiatrist who went on a shooting spree at Fort Hood, Texas, last year.  They also link him to a Nigerian man accused in a failed 2009 Christmas Day airline bombing attempt, as well as another failed bombing in Times Square.

After much debate, the U.S. government put al-Awlaki on a list of Islamic militants it wants captured or killed.  

Princeton University Yemen scholar Gregory Johnsen says al-Qaida is a difficult issue to tackle in Yemen, because it continues to have some public appeal.

"I think that al-Qaida puts itself on the right side of a number of different issues in Yemeni society," said Johnsen.  "I think there is not a great deal of sympathy for suicide attacks within Yemen, but unfortunately, neither the United States nor the Yemeni government have really been able to make a persuasive argument to convince [Yemenis] that al-Qaida in the Arabian peninsula is bad for the population at large."

Yemeni President Ali Abdallah Saleh vowed during the weekend, "to cooperate fully with the international community in fighting al-Qaida."  

Johnsen says Yemen is trying to show it is an active and engaged partner with the United States in the war on al-Qaida, and by trying Anwar al-Awlaki they are attempting to pre-empt possible U.S. action in Yemen.

You May Like

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost-Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More