Yemeni confesses to multiple murder
By Nasser Arrabyee and Reuters, Gulf News, 21-04-2003
Sanaa - Trials of two Yemeni people charged with killing a senior socialist official and three American missionaries began here yesterday.
In two separate courts, one in Sanaa and the other in Ibb, the general prosecution read out the charge of deliberate murder to Ali Jar Allah Al Swani and Abed Abdul Razak Kamel. The former refused to comment on the charge while the latter confessed.
Prosecutors called for the death penalty for Kamel, 30, who smuggled a rifle into a Baptist hospital in the southern town of Jibla in December and shot dead a doctor and two of her colleagues and wounded an American pharmacist.
"Yes, I killed them to take revenge on Christians and Americans. I am comfortable (with what I did)," Kamel said at the trial held amid tight security in a court in Ibb province, 170 km south of Sanaa.
Martha Myers, 57, a physician from Alabama and William Koehn, 60, an administrator from Texas, were buried in Jibla. Kathleen Gariety, 53, a purchasing agent from Wisconsin was also buried in Yemen. All three had asked in their wills to be buried here.
Many Jibla residents were distraught over the attack. Myers had worked at the hospital for 25 years and Koehn for 28 years.
Anti-American sentiment was running high in Yemen over Washington's support for Israel and the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan, even before the U.S.-led war in Iraq, which has incensed the Arab world.
"Because they were preaching, and encouraging the people here to adopt family planning, and some people who have become Christians are behaving contrary to Islamic values," Kamel said when asked by the judge about the reason for the murders. He admitted that he planned the murder to cleanse Yemen of secularists and Christians.
In a short hearing, the chief prosecutor of north Sana'a court, Saeed AlAkel read the charges against Ali Jar Allah which included "murder of the assistant secretary general of the Yemeni Socialist Party, Jar Allah Omer, also attempted to kill the vice chairman of the Islah party, Saeed Shamsan, and forming a gang to kill the secularists and Christians."
"I had no knowledge that I would stand trial until I arrived here," said Ali Jar Allah when asked by the chief judge, Abdul Rahman Jahaf, about his response to the accusations. " I prefer to go to the execution square," he said.
He pointed out that the prosecution did not let him know of the timing of the trial nor did they ask him to engage a lawyer. "I must have a lawyer to defend me, I must have a chance for that."
And about his opinion of the trial, the accused told the reporters "it is a legal scandal, it is merely electoral propaganda."