Abu Hamza and the Islamic Army


A record of events surrounding the Yemen "bomb plot" and kidnapping


July 3: Malik Nasser Harhara flies to Yemen with his mother; she returns on August 20.

October 11: Abu Hamza al-Masri of the London-based Supporters of Shariah, issues a communique on behalf of the Islamic Army of Aden-Abyan.

November 13: Shazad Nabi and Iyad Hussein fly to Yemen.

November 28: Mustapha Kamil and Kamal Barakan fly to Yemen.

November 28: Shahid Butt leaves Britain for Yemen.

December 12: General Anthony Zinni, head of US Central Command, meets President Salih to discuss "co-operation on demining and joint military exercises," according to the Saba news agency. This was the seventh senior US military delegation to visit Yemen in 1998.

December 18: Sarmad Ahmed flies to Yemen via London.

December 18: Ghulam Hussein flies to Yemen, on his own, according to supporters.

December 19: Sarmad Ahmad checks into al-Wafa hotel, Aden.

December 23/24: Around midnight, Daewoo car with three occupants crashes in Aden. Police find weapons and explosives inside. Five Britons and a man with a French passport arrested in raids on two hotels and a villa.

December 24-26: Abu Hamza's organisation, Supporters of Shariah, holds its fourth Islamic Camp at Finsbury Park Mosque in north London. The list of activities includes "military training for brothers", illustrated with a picture of a hand grenade.

December 28: Abu al-Hassan and the Islamic Army of Aden-Abyan kidnap 16 mainly British tourists travelling through Abyan with the Explore Worldwide company. Abu al-Hassan phones Abu Hamza in London to say that he has captured some "infidels" and discusses what to do with them.

December 29: Yemeni troops in shoot-out with kidnappers. Four hostages killed, the survivors are released. Two kidnappers killed, three arrested.

December 30: Abu Hamza al-Masri of the London-based Supporters of Shariah, issues a communique on behalf of the Islamic Army of Aden-Abyan.


January 1: Nine survivors from among the hostages return to Britain.

January 2: FBI and Scotland Yard investigators start work in Yemen.

January 3: Junior Foreign Office minister Tony Lloyd says Yemen's application to join the British Commonwealth will be turned down because it does not meet the entry criteria on good governance.

January 5: Interior Minister Hussein Arab says FBI and Scotland Yard detectives "are only here to get the results of the inquiry by the Yemeni security services and to shed light on the crime … they are not here to participate, directly or indirectly, in the inquiry."

January 6: Interior Minister Hussein Arab says that seven members of the "terrorist group" whose release the kidnappers were demanding carried British passports.

January 6: The Times newspaper reports that security chiefs in Aden have told two Scotland Yard detectives investigating the hostages' deaths to leave the city "on the next available flight". Britain later describes the dispute as a "bureaucratic hitch".

January 6: British ambassador in Yemen, Victor Henderson, denies reports of a change in policy towards Yemen's application to join the British Commonwealth.

January 9-10: British diplomat visits four of the arrested Britons in jail; two of them say they have been kicked and punched while in detention. Fifth man has dual British and Yemeni nationality - there is no legal obligation to allow diplomatic access.

January 10: The Observer newspaper reports that Abu Hamza al-Masri, leader of the London-based group, Supporters of Shariah, had links with both the kidnappers and some of the arrested Britons.

January 13: Abu al-Hassan al-Mihdar and two brothers, Ahmed Mohammad Ali Atef, 26, and his brother Saad Mohammad Ali Atef, 18, appear in court in Zinjibar, charged with kidnapping, premeditated murder, highway robbery, sabotage and forming an armed group called the Aden-Abyan Islamic Army. Eleven others, including an Algerian, are charged in their absence.

January 14: Abu Hamza, interviewed by al-Jazirah television (widely watched in Yemen), says that if Abu al-Hassan is executed "there will be vindictive operations, namely killing without kidnapping".

January 14: British consul-general, David Pearce, visits Malik Nasser Harhara, who has dual British-Yemeni nationality, in jail.

January 15: Yemeni prime minister, Abdul-Karim al-Iryani, speaks to Robin Cook, the British Foreign Secretary, on the telephone and expresses "grave concern and unease over practices against the republic of Yemen by terrorist groups based in Britain".

January 15: Four of the five arrested Britons are charged with "association with armed gangs with a criminal plan to commit murder, explosions and destruction and possession of weapons".

January 16: Badr Basunaid, lawyer representing representing the six men detained in Aden, says that the sixth man, who was carrying a French passport which did not belong to him, is an Arab called Amer Abderrahman who speaks with a North African accent.

January 20: Abu Hamza holds press conference in London; warns all westerners to leave Yemen and calls for the overthrow of the Yemeni government.

January 21: British government says it is writing to all Britons resident in Yemen, asking them "to consider whether their presence is absolutely essential and, if not, to leave."

January 25: President Ali Abdullah Salih writes to Tony Blair, the British prime minister, seeking Abu Hamza's extradition to Yemen, "to be tried on charges of carrying out terrorist activities in Yemen and in several other Arab states".

January 26: Yemeni forces in Wadi'a, Abyan province, besiege a mountainous area where four Islamic militants linked to the December 28 kidnapping are believed to be hiding.

January 26: Yemen announces that visas will no longer be issued on arrival in the country; they must be obtained in advance through embassies.

January 27: Trial of "bomb plot" suspects opens in Aden. Adjourned to allow more time to prepare a defence.

January 27: Yemeni forces in Wadi'a, Abyan province, arrest six more suspects. They include three Britons (among them the son of Abu Hamza al-Masri), a Frenchman living in Britain, a Yemeni and an Algerian of Tunisian origin.

January 28: President Salih, in an interview with al-Quds newspaper, describes Abu Hamza as "the main instigator" of a terrorist plot in Yemen. He accuses Abu Hamza's organisation of an earlier attack, on October 13, 1998, when explosives strapped to a donkey wounded an army officer and a soldier.

January 30: Trial of "bomb plot" suspects resumes. Prosecutor seeks reporting restrictions; judge apparently agrees but nature of restrictions is unclear. Police give evidence of high speed car chase in Aden. Witness identifies Harhara as driver, Ghailan as one of two passengers.

January 30: Clare Short, British minister for International Development, urges supporters of the accused not to make "crazy" statements.

January 31: Observer newspaper reports that two of the accused - Ghailan and Harhara - far from being Islamic extremists, are not practising Muslims.

January 31: British pathologist, Chris Milroy, says the detainees' torture claims are "very persuasive".

February 1: "Bomb plot" trial resumes. Six prosecution witnesses called, amid tighter reporting restrictions. Adjourned until Saturday February 6.

February 3: Yemeni Interior Minister, interviewed by a newspaper in the United Arab Emirates, says that the detained Britons were carrying two extra passports each - to be used in emergencies.

February 3: Yemenia announces that it is cutting its London-Sana'a flights from two per week to one, as "a temporary measure". Earlier, a newspaper report said that one recent Yemenia flight carried only four passengers.

February 4: Relatives of two of the accused are refused admission to Yemen at Sana'a airport because they had not obtained visas in advance, as required by new regulations.  They were: Valerie Fleming (mother of Mohammed Mustafa Kamil, Abu Hamza's son); Charles Traverso (Kamil's grandfather); Afzal Amin (a relative of Shahid Butt) and Moazzam Begg (an interpreter). [Editor's note added 15 February 2009: A Reuters report at the time quoted a Yemeni official as saying that Afzal Amin was a relative of Shahid Butt. Mr Amin has asked us to make clear that he is not related to Mr Butt and went to Yemen as an advisor only.]

February 4: Britain announces that it has closed the British Council's cultural and language centres in Sana'a and Aden; staff have begun leaving Yemen.

February 6: Two men wanted in connection with kidnapping the tourists give themselves up in Shabwa after negotiations. They are Sa'id al-Fayadhi al-Malqab ("Abu Nasser al-Awlaqi") and Salim al-Fayadhi al-Malqab ("Abu Abdullah"). Al-Ayyam newspaper (8.2.99) reports that negotiations are also taking place with a tribe for two of its members to be handed over to the authorities.

February 6: Aden trial resumes for four hours, then adjourned until February 9. Court hears that weapons allegedly found in a car do not carry fingerprints linking them to the accused. Judge asks British lawyer, Rashad Yaqoob, to leave because he is not recognised by the court. One of the the defence lawyers, Badr Basunaid, boycotts the proceedings after refusing to allow his bag to be searched on the way in.

February 6: Trial of Abu al-Hassan, and two others accused of kidnapping 16 western tourists, resumes in Zinjibar. Abu al-Hassan ridicules the judge and demands to be tried in an Islamic court by two radical ulama' from the Islah party (Daylami and Zindani). He tells the court: "We fought in Afghanistan and Chechnya and we will continue our struggle until the establishment of an Islamic state in Yemen." Adjourned until February 8.

February 8: British Prime Minister Tony Blair meets President Salih at King Hussein's funeral in Amman. They have a "civilised discourse". Later, both sides say they are working to improve relations.

February 8: Trial of Abu al-Hassan resumes. Two recently-arrested suspects are now included, making a total of five people on trial for kidnapping the 16 western tourists. Four witnesses, all drivers with the tour group, give evidence. It is still not clear who killed four of the hostages. One witness says: "The kidnappers opened fire at the security forces. The kidnappers told us the security forces will retreat after they hear the sound of bullets because they are more concerned with the lives of Christians (the hostages)." Another witness says: "The kidnappers asked me to go to the army and tell them that the hostages were at the front and that they would be the first victims." Adjourned until February 11.

February 9: Defence lawyers in the Aden trial ask for charges to be dismissed on the grounds that confessions were obtained under torture. The judge adjourns the case to consider it.

February 9: British consul-general, David Pearce, visits the three Britons who were arrested on January 27 - Mohammed Mustafa Kamil (son of Abu Hamza), Ayaz Hussain and Shaz Nabi.

February 10: Judge in Aden rejects a defence request to dismiss the charges on the grounds that the confessions had been made under torture. He says this cannot be considered until evidence of torture is presented to the court. The judge adds that a Yemeni doctor who examined the six says he saw no signs of torture.

February 10: British lawyer, Stephen Jakobi, of the Fair Trials Abroad organisation, says he will travel to Yemen to observe the trial in Aden.

February 10: British Airways postpones the start of its new scheduled service to Yemen.

February 11: A soldier, giving evidence in the Zinjibar kidnap trial, says he saw the kidnappers open fire on Yemeni troops, but he did not see who had killed four of the hostages. Another witness, who earlier had acted as a mediator between the kidnappers and Yemeni authorities, says the captors told him they did not want to negotiate with anybody.

February 13: Four additional defendants join the "bomb plot" trial in Aden, making a total of ten. They are Muhammad Mustafa Kamil (the 17-year-old son of Abu Hamza), Shaaz Nabi, 20, and Ayaz Hussein, 25 (two cousins from Birmingham), and Kamal Ali Muhammad Saghir (aka "Ali Muksin"), an Algerian who was living in Britain and entered Yemen on a false French passport. Abu Hamza's son admits membership of an armed group, but denies other charges.

February 15: In the kidnap trial in Zinjibar, Abu al-Hassan al-Mihdar admits giving orders to kill the hostages in the event of a rescue operation. He says his instruction was "to kill only the men, and not the women, if Yemeni police intervened to free the hostages." However, he denies any connection with Abu Hamza al-Masri, the London-based leader of Supporters of Shariah.

February 16: Dr Fouad al-Qahiri, a doctor at a government hospital in Aden, tells the "bomb plot" court that he examined five of the suspects on January 15 and found no evidence of torture. He says bruises on the suspects' wrists were caused by handcuffs. The defence is expected to challenge the doctor's evidence on January 20.

February 18: In Zinjibar, Abu al-Hassan tells the court that his group, the Islamic Army of Aden-Abyan, had been planning more attacks on Americans and Britons. "Our plan was to go to Aden after the kidnapping to liquidate Americans in one of the city's hotels and attack a church … Two religions cannot unite and a church bell cannot sound in the Arabian peninsula."

February 20: Rashad Yaqoob, a British lawyer helping with the defence of the accused Britons, arrested shortly before he was due to attend a press conference. Taken to hospital after becoming ill in police custody; released after a few hours. Major Ahmad Muthana, deputy head of security in Aden, said the authorities had merely wanted to check whether his visa had expired - though he added that Mr Yaqoob had also criticised Yemen. Relatives of the accused later said they had been prevented from holding the press conference at the Aden Moevenpick hotel.

February 21: In Zinjibar, the prosecution seeks to introduce forensic evidence showing that the western hostages were all shot from behind. Four witnesses appear on behalf of Ahmad Atif, one of the accused. Three of them testify that he had left the Islamic Army four or five months before the kidnapping. One witness says Ahmad Atif was in Rada'a - miles away - on the morning of the kidnapping. Abu al-Hassan gives a soldier money and sends him out to buy mineral water for everyone in court. The judge and prosecutors decline to drink it.

February 25: Yemen expels Rashad Yaqoob, a British lawyer who was briefly arrested on February 20. The authorities claim that he made a "false statement to the public prosecutor" by alleging that Mustapha Kamil, arrested son of Abu Hamza, had been "tortured and mistreated".

February 26: British lawyer, Rashad Yaqoob, says he was beaten, abused and threatened by Yemen's security forces before being expelled from Yemen. He produces a letter signed by all 10 defendants in Aden.

February 27: The Aden "bomb plot" court is shown communications equipment allegedly used by the defendants. It includes a global positioning system (GPS), satellite dishes and mobile phones. One of the defendants, Malik Harhara, says he used the GPS to work out his position when driving out of town.

February 28: In the Zinjibar kidnap trial, the court appoints lawyers for the nine absentee defendants.

March 1: In an unrelated case in Aden, six men are sentenced to between two and four years for a series of bombings in empty car parks during July 1998. Nobody was injured in the attacks.

March 6: A morning of legal argument in the Aden "bomb plot" trial. Prosecution insists "there was no procedural error in the arrest or the detention of the accused." Adjourned until March 9.

March 7: Abu Hamza issues a new threat on behalf of the Islamic Army, warning the British and American ambassadors to leave Yemen.

March 9: Judge in Aden trial is ill - case postponed.

March 11: The interior minister, Hussein al-Arab, says Yemen is in contact with British officials regarding the extradition of Abu Hamza al-Masri, the London-based imam, who is wanted on terrorism charges.

March 11: Court in Aden examines weapons, explosives and videos allegedly found by police when they raided a villa rented by Muhsin Ghailan, Abu Hamza's stepson. The accused say they know nothing about a number of anti-tank mines produced in court. The judge rejects another defence request to release the defendants under supervision; he says the charges are too serious.

March 13: "Bomb plot" court in Aden sees two videos seized at the villa rented by Muhsin Ghalain. One shows four of the accused holding automatic weapons during "military training" in Albania last August. Ghailan says he made the video as a "souvenir" of their trip. The second video shows one of the defendants with Abu Hamza al-Masri. The case was adjourned until March 15 after defence lawyers claimed the evidence was inadmissible.

March 15: Aden "bomb plot" trial adjourned until April 20 because of the Hajj period, when Yemeni courts are normally in recess. Aden "bomb plot" trial adjourned until April 20 because of the Hajj period, when Yemeni courts are normally in recess.

March 15: British police arrest Abu Hamza at a flat in west London. Two other men - one of whom is understood to have been sentenced to death by an Egyptian court - are also arrested. All three are held under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, which allows detention without charges for up to seven days.

March 18: British police release Abu Hamza al-Masri and two other men. They are on bail until May 18, pending further inquiries.

March 20: Aden trial resumes unexpectedly, having previously been adjourned until April 20. Several defence lawyers are reportedly on holiday. Yemeni authorities say they want to clear a backlog of cases.

March 22: The "confession" of Malik Harhara (who has dual British and Yemeni nationality) is read to the court in Aden. In the statement, Harhara allegedly admits being sent to Yemen by Abu Hamza al-Masri to bomb British and American targets, and  undergoing military training with the Jihad organisation in Yemen. Harhara says it was extracted under torture and tells the judge: "I said nothing of the sort. Maybe I signed a document but I did not know what was in it."

March 24: Defence lawyers in the Aden trial withdraw from the case in protest at what they describe as illegal measures by the prosecutor's office. They say they are not being allowed to hold private sessions with their clients in prison. Badr Basuneid, one of the legal team, says all seven defence lawyers have walked out but the prosecutor's office says only three have done so.

April 5: Tony Blair, the British prime minister, calls for an independent doctor to examine the Britons on trial in Aden. Foreign Office says he has asked the Yemeni government to allow a human rights lawyer to accompany an independent doctor, and has also asked that the defence team be allowed full access to their clients and to prosecution documents. Meanwhile, defence lawyers fail to turn up for the resumed hearing; judge threatens to appoint new lawyers if they do not attend the next session on April 7.

April 7: Judge in Aden trial theatens to appoint a new defence team because of continuing boycott by defence lawyers.

April 14: Three of the seven-man defence team in Aden return to court after being allowed private meetings with their clients - for the first time since the men were arrested.

April 15: Judge in Aden trial agrees to an independent medical examination of the defendants. His solution is to have the men examined by a panel of three doctors - two Yemenis and a third from "a neutral and friendly country". All three will have to be approved by the Yemeni health ministry but the lawyers may be allowed to nominate a doctor from France, Germany, the Netherlands or the United States.

April 19: In Aden, alleged confessions of Muhsin Ghailan and Malik Harhara are read in court. Both deny them. Ghailan says: "I was threatened by a soldier to sign these pages, but I don't read Arabic." Harhara says: "This is not true, I don't speak Arabic." Prosecutor says both defendants "speak and write Arabic fairly well".

April 21: Another accused Briton, Sarmad Ahmed, tells the court in Aden that his confession statement had been "signed after torture".

April 22: Yemeni interior minister says British investigators are in Yemen to gather information about Abu Hamza el-Masri, the London-based imam. He says the visit is part of "efforts undertaken by London to arrest and put on trial Abu Hamza in Britain or Yemen soon."

April 24: Abd al-Rahman 'Amr, one of two Algerian defendants in the Aden trial tells the court investigators had threatened to take him to a detention centre and torture him unless he confessed to coming to Yemen to carry out bomb attacks. He also says the signature on his alleged confession is forged.

April 26: British defendant Shahid Butt is questioned in court about his alleged confession statement, but there are conflicting reports of what he said. According to Reuters news agency, Butt told the court that Abu Hamza al-Masri, the London-based imam, recruited him at the mosque he attended and sent him to Yemen for military training so that he would be ready to fight in support of Muslims outside Yemen. According to this version, Butt also told the court he did not plan sabotage in Yemen itself. However, a BBC report later quotes a British diplomat who attended the court as saying that Butt made no such admissions. According to the BBC, Butt disowned the "confession" statement and said it was extracted by force.

May 3: In court in Aden, two more Britons, Chaz Nabi and Iyad Hussein formally deny making the confessions attributed to them by Yemeni police. In court in Aden, two more Britons, Chaz Nabi and Iyad Hussein formally deny making the confessions attributed to them by Yemeni police.

May 5: Abu Hamza al-Masri warns the government in Sanaa not to carry out the sentence or risk overthrow. Abu Hamza al-Masri warns the government in Sanaa not to carry out the sentence or risk overthrow.

May 5: In Zinjibar, death sentences are passed on Zein Al-Abidine al-Mihdar ("Abu al-Hassan"), Abdullah Salih al-Junaidi and Salih Abu Huraira, an Algerian. Ahmed Mohammed Atif is sentenced to 20 years in prison, but his brother is acquitted along with nine other men who were tried in their absence. In Zinjibar, death sentences are passed on Zein Al-Abidine al-Mihdar ("Abu al-Hassan"), Abdullah Salih al-Junaidi and Salih Abu Huraira, an Algerian. Ahmed Mohammed Atif is sentenced to 20 years in prison, but his brother is acquitted along with nine other men who were tried in their absence.

May 6: Al-Hayat newspaper quotes Abu Hamza al-Masri as saying that anyone who "contributes" to carrying out the sentence on the kidnappers will be a "legitimate target".

May 6: In Aden, prosecutor tells court of admissions made by several of the accused Britons in an interview with the British consul, David Pearce, in January. He alleged that the Britons told Mr Pearce (in the presence of Aden's chief of police, a defence lawyer and an interpreter) that they had been given weapons by Abu al-Hassan al-Mihdar. In Aden, prosecutor tells court of admissions made by several of the accused Britons in an interview with the British consul, David Pearce, in January. He alleged that the Britons told Mr Pearce (in the presence of Aden's chief of police, a defence lawyer and an interpreter) that they had been given weapons by Abu al-Hassan al-Mihdar.

May 6: Medical report by one Dutch and two Yemeni doctors says that four of the accused Britons and one Algerian on trial "are in a good physical and mental state and show no signs of torture". However, the report does mention "old wounds that had been scarred over". Medical report by one Dutch and two Yemeni doctors says that four of the accused Britons and one Algerian on trial "are in a good physical and mental state and show no signs of torture". However, the report does mention "old wounds that had been scarred over".

May 8: Al-Hayat newspaper receives a telephone message saying that the Islamic Army of Aden-Abyan "pledges to cleanse the symbols of secularism...if the government does not back down from its decision to execute the Islamic leader Abu al-Hassan.'' It singles out the Interior Minister, Hussein Mohammad Arab, for assassination.

May 8: The British consul, David Pearce, is quoted in al-Ayyam newspaper as saying "I hope that the death sentence in this case will be commuted to a jail sentence", because Britain and other European countries do not approve of the death penalty.

May 9: Court in Aden rules that one of the Britons, 25-year-old Ghulam Hussein, can be released on bail on health grounds. He is said to be suffering from malaria, liver inflammation, asthma and emphysema.

May 12: Agence France Presse reports that Ghulam Hussein is still in jail and looking for a Yemeni trader to guarantee the terms of his release.

May 15: A Reuters report says that Muhsin Ghailan, stepson of Abu Hamza, confirmed to the Aden court that "his English-language confession admitting that he had obtained explosives from a place in Abyan was correct". According to Reuters, another defendant, Malik Nasser Harhara, was asked in court if the confession and signature attributed to him were his, and replied "yes". Harhara's confession statement says that he went to Yemen for instruction in the use of firearms by another defendant, Shahid Butt, who had been trained in Afghanistan. Reuters also reported that a third - unnamed - defendant acknowledged his confession. A Reuters report on April 26, in which Butt was said to have admitted parts of his confession in court, was denied by a British diplomat who attended the court.

May 16: Lawyers file appeals against death sentences passed on three of the kidnappers and the 20-year jail sentence on a fourth man.

May 17: Abu Hamza and two other men who were arrested in March under anti-terrorism laws report to police in London. Their bail is extended until July 26. Investigations are continuing.

May 17: In Aden, Malik Nasser Harhara, one of the British defendants, describes his arrest. He tells the court he was in a rented car with two friends from London when police stopped them. He says he tried to bribe the policeman because his companion, Muhsin Ghailan, did not have a valid licence. When the policeman asked for more, they drove off but then crashed the car. When they got to their hotel they were arrested.

May 23: In a closed court session (at the request of the defence) two Britons told of sexual abuse by some of their jailers, according to a defence lawyer. Muhsin Ghailan and Mohammad Mustafa Kamal (Abu Hamza's stepson and son, respectively) gave the names and ranks of the two soldiers allegedly involved, the lawyer says.

May 24: Abu Hamza says he will urge his supporters to strike back if his son and stepson are convicted of terrorism. "When you find no ears to listen, then military action is permissible by Islam,'' he says.

May 25: Abu Hamza issues a statement on behalf of the Islamic Army of Aden-Abyan renewing its threat to kill foreigners in Yemen if the death sentences against its members are carried out. The "army" says it is willing to negotiate but "if negotiations fail, all foreigners in Yemen from Western ambassadors, experts and doctors to tourists have to leave Yemen. The Aden-Abyan Islamic Army will not kidnap them but will kill them". The statement also threatens delegates attending the Emerging Democracies Forum to be held in Sanaa on June 27-29.

May 26: Defence lawyers in Aden produce photographs showing bruises on some of the accused in the "bomb plot" trial. The photographs were allegedly taken without permission last January. The judge says he will rule later on whether they can be admitted as evidence.

May 27: Interior minister says Yemen has arrested 15 suspects who were "planning actions to disturb security and stability in the country" - allegedly by attacking foreign targets. He says they have "close links" with Abu Hamza and also with the Islamic Army. The minister says seven of the suspects are of Yemeni origin but hold citizenship of "a neighbouring country". The nationality of the other eight is not specified.

June 22: Aden "bomb plot" trial ends with summing-up speeches. Prosecutor calls on the judge to convict all the accused for "crimes endangering society". Defence lawyer argues that there is no evidence to convict the men. Asked if they have any final words, all the defendants say that they are innocent, with some threatening divine retribution on the judge if he finds them guilty. A verdict is expected on July 25.

July 13: "Abu Huraira", one of the three kidnappers sentenced to death, briefly escapes from prison in Shawba. According to al-Ayyam newspaper (July 14) he jumped over a wall but was recaptured before he had gone more than 500 metres from the prison.

August 4: Appeal court upholds Abu al-Hassan's death sentence, along with that of another Yemeni, Abdullah Muhsin Salih al-Junaidi ("Abu Hadhifa"). The third man, a Tunisian teacher who claimed he only acted as interpreter for the kidnappers, has his death sentence commuted to eight years' imprisonment. See Abu al-Hassan: what now?