[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Saturday, 26 February, 2005, 09:11 GMT
USS Cole attack verdicts upheld
USS Cole
Suicide bombers rammed the USS Cole
A Yemeni appeals court has upheld a death sentence, and commuted another, over the bomb attack on the USS Cole, which killed 17 US sailors in 2000.

Suspected ringleader Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, currently in US custody, will receive the death penalty.

But Jamal Mohammed al-Badawi will only serve 15 years in jail, the court said.

Three others are to serve between five and 10 years; a fourth sentence was commuted from eight to five years.

In October 2000, two attackers rammed the destroyer with a small boat laden with explosives in the port of Aden.


The attack was blamed on Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda network.

'Un-Islamic verdict'

Saturday's court session in the capital Sanaa was held under strict security.

Streets near the courthouse were blocked and several armoured vehicles and military jeeps armed with machine guns surrounded the building.

Defendants and their families shouted "Allahu Akbar" [God is Greatest] after the ruling.

This is an un-Islamic and illegal sentence
Jamal Mohammed al-Badawi

"This is an un-Islamic and illegal sentence," yelled Badawi.

He accused Presiding Judge Said al-Qataa of being an "agent" of the US.

Saudi-born Nashiri is being held in an undisclosed location by the US, after he was arrested in the United Arab Emirates in October 2002 and handed over to Washington.

He has been described as al-Qaeda's chief of naval operations at the time and its operations chief in the Gulf.

US officials say he is close to Bin Laden, and suspect him of involvement in the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

Fahd al-Qusaa, who had filmed the USS Cole attack, is to serve his 10-year-sentence given by the lower court in September.

Maamoun Msouh's sentence - for helping fund the attack and assisting Badawi - was reduced from eight to five years.

Jamal al-Badawi and Fahd al-Qusaa in September 2004
Badawi (L) said the judge was an "agent" of the US

Ali Mohamed Saleh and Murad al-Sirouri are to serve their original five-year-jail terms for forging identification documents for one of the suicide bombers.

Seventeen US sailors were killed and at least 40 people were wounded in the attack, which took place as the USS Cole was refuelling on 12 October 2000.

The Yemeni suicide bombers, Ibrahim al-Thawr and Abdullah al-Misawa, packed their small boat with up to 500lb (225 kg) of high explosives, leaving a gaping hole in the side of the Cole.

The Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyer was considered one of the US Navy's most advanced warships. It has since been repaired and is back in service.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific