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dimanche, janvier 11, 2009

MOSSAD spys on trial in Yemen

A Yemeni state security court on Saturday began the trial of three young countrymen accused of spying for Israel.

The prosecution charged the three young men, aged between 23 and 26, with "establishing contacts with the Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and offering to work as agents for the Mossad intelligence agency."

They are also accused of operating under a fake organization called the "Islamic Jihad of Yemen" and spreading false statements and news and claims of responsibility for attacks on embassies and foreign interests in Yemen between last year.

Prosecutors said the group's leader Bassam Abdullah al-Haidari,
26, had sent letters by email to Olmert, offering to work for the Mossad.

They said the defendants had received a positive reply from
Israeli officials, who allegedly welcomed the offer for collaboration.

Al-Haidari and the two other defendants, Emad Ali al-Raimi, 23, and Ali Abdullah al-Mahfal, 24, denied the charges and asked the court to appoint a lawyer for them.

Prosecutors said the men had also demanded money from the Embassies of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The three denied the charges, which they said were fabricated by a police official they had a dispute with.

Presiding judge Muhssien Alwan adjourned the trial until January 17.

The three men were part of a group of six suspects, who were arrested in October over alleged links to the Mossad. The three others were released by police for the lack of evidence.

Announcing the arrests, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh said police had dismantled a "terrorist cell linked to the Israeli intelligence services."

The arrests followed the bombing of the U.S. embassy in Sana'a in September, for which Al-Qaida later claimed responsibility.