Abu Hamza and the Islamic Army

LATE in 1998, two very different groups of travellers set out from Britain for Yemen.

One group, on an adventure tour with Explore Worldwide, went in search of history and a traditional culture. The others - a group of young men from a Muslim background - intended, according to their families, to learn Arabic, have a holiday and experience life in the Islamic world.

Both trips met with disaster. Ten of the young men were arrested on terrorism charges. The 16 adventure tourists were taken hostage and four died when Yemeni forces tried to rescue them.

In both cases there was a common link: to a fiery imam at a mosque in Finsbury Park, London, and his Yemeni friend, the commander of the "Islamic Army of Aden-Abyan".

The Islamic Army, according to Yemeni officials, was part of Usama bin Laden's al-Qa'eda network (see Al-Qaida link to kidnap of tourists, The Guardian, 13 October, 2001).

The reports on these pages pieced together the evidence as it unfolded. Check thechronology for later developments ...

Yemen likely to free jailed Britons early
The Guardian, 14 September, 2000

Verdict on the Aden Ten
A round-up of later developments

The "jihad experience"
Middle East International, 20 August, 1999

Terrorists or tourists?
Rory Carroll, The Guardian, 26 June 1999

Dazed and confused
More than seven months after 10 young men from Britain were arrested in Aden, the British are unsure what to make of it …

Abu al-Hassan: what now?

The following links are no longer available but are included for historical interest:

Information about the defence of the arrested men can be found on a website produced by the "Justice for the Britons in Yemen" campaign.

Handwritten letter "to Tony Blair, Paddy Ashdown, William Hague and the British public" signed by the defendants.

Medical report on six of the defendants
By Dr. C M Milroy, The Medico-Legal Centre, Sheffield.

Medical report (2)
By Dr. Saddaf Alam, Chairman of Mediconcern; General Practitioner, Oldham.