The Abyan kidnap trial
2. The accused
Statements attributed to defendants in kidnap trial
The following extracts from the suspects' statements were first published in Arabic in the Yemeni army newspaper, 26 September, on February 4, 1999. They are included here in translation to give English-speaking readers a clearer picture of what is alleged. The contents should not be regarded as indicating guilt, or otherwise.
Statement attributed to ABDULLAH MUHSIN AL-JUNAIDI
ABDULLAH MUHSIN AL-JUNAIDI ("Abu Hadhifa")
Aged 20, from Wadi 'Abdan in Shabwa province. He was among the group that kidnapped the tourists [on December 28].
He says the kidnap was planned the previous evening in the house of the accused Ali al-Khadr al-Hajj. He became acquainted with Abu al-Hassan [commander of the Islamic Army] at someone's house in Aden while he was working with the owner of the house. He also met Abu al-Hassan twice in Sana'a during 1997 and spent 10 days with him at a house in the Sheraton district of the city. Abu al-Hassan met a number of people there, including a man known as "Abu Ali al-Harith".
Al-Junaidi says he joined the Islamic Army at the beginning of 1998 and underwent training in revolvers, automatic rifles, RPGs, mines, bombs, and tactics. Weapons training was carried out by Khalid al-Yazaidi and tactical training by "Usama al-Masri".
In Ja'ar, about four months after the failure of the Huttat camp, he met Abu al-Hassan who told him about the existence of the Islamic Army and asked him to join it. Abu al-Hassan had set up a temporary camp which comprised about 18 people …
Al-Junaidi says the aim of the Islamic Army was to establish the shari'a because the state's rule was not complying; it had imported democracy from infidel countries and was imposing American and British interests on Yemen.
Statement attributed to HUSSEIN MUHAMMAD SALIH
HUSSEIN MUHAMMAD SALIH ("Abu Huraira")
Born 1965 in Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia. In 1989 he went to Mauritania where he studied English and French until 1992, when he returned to Tunisia and worked as a teacher for a short time. In 1993 he went to Libya and then to Sudan, where he stayed for two years. He went to Yemen about three years ago and took up teaching at the Ayman mosque and visited a number of Yemeni provinces accompanied by a group of the accused.
Salih admits taking part in the kidnapping of the western tourists in Abyan at the end of December …
[Later, in court, he denied participating "in thought or deed" and said his role was as an interpreter.]