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Last Updated: Monday, 15 August 2005, 15:37 GMT 16:37 UK
Shia rebels go on trial in Yemen
File photograph of Hussein al-Houthi
The rebels are said to be followers of Shia cleric Hussein al-Houthi
Alleged Shia rebels in Yemen have gone on trial, accused of a series of deadly attacks against the security services.

The state prosecutor has charged more that 30 rebels with belonging to an illegal armed group.

The defendants disrupted the start of the trial by chanting Islamist slogans, before the judge adjourned the hearing.

The rebels are accused of being supporters of rebel cleric Hussein al-Houthi who was killed in a battle with Yemeni troops in 2004.

Prosecutor Saed al-Aqel accused the defendants of a spate of attacks on soldiers in the capital Sanaa in which one officer was killed and 27 people injured.

"They were also planning to attack the intelligence services building, an army barracks and state television," he said.

Hundreds killed

Judge Nagib Qadri was forced to suspend proceedings after the accused began to chant "death to America, death to Israel" and turned their backs on the bench whilst loudly reciting Koranic verses.

The insurgents are members the largely peaceful Zaidi sect, a branch of Shia Islam dominant in the region near the Saudi border in what is otherwise a mainly Sunni country.

Hundreds were killed last year in clashes between Yemeni troops and the followers of rebel preacher Hussein al-Houthi.

He was killed during the clashes in September 2004.

At least another 70 people were killed in when the government launched a renewed crackdown on the cleric's supporters in April this year.

The rebels are now thought to be led by Hussein al-Houthi's father, Badr al-Din al-Houthi.

Yemen says the group preaches violence against the US and Israel in mosques.


SEE ALSO:
Deadly clashes flare up in Yemen
29 Mar 05 |  Middle East
Yemeni forces kill rebel cleric
10 Sep 04 |  Middle East
Yemen continues anti-cleric drive
09 Aug 04 |  Middle East
Yemen army 'crushes' rebellion
06 Aug 04 |  Middle East
Country profile: Yemen
11 Aug 04 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Yemen
11 Aug 04 |  Country profiles


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