Yemen

Yemeni court sentences 8 Shia Muslims of Yemen to prision

shia-houthi A Yemeni court has sentenced eight Houthi fighters to up to 10 years in prison for resisting a government offensive outside Sana’a between March and June 2008. The court sentenced 26-year-old former army captain Waleed al-Moayed, and 50-year-old Salem Hussein al-Baytari to 10 years in prison, AFP reported Sunday. Yasser al-Wazeer, 28, Hussein al-Aghrabi, 19, Abdullah al-Jalal, 29, Al-Ezzy al-Muqdad, 30, and Mohammed al-Shahari, 30, were handed eight-year sentences. Ahmed al-Wazeer, 25, was sentenced to five years. They were convicted of fighting government forces at Bani Husheish, 30 km (19 miles) north of the capital city of Sana’a. Their sentences bring to 42 the number of Houthi fighters imprisoned over what the Yemeni government claims as “belonging to an armed group and carrying out a terrorist criminal plot that resulted in the death of many soldiers and citizens.” The government accuses fighters of breaking a ceasefire deal by taking foreign visitors hostage in 2009. The fighters deny the charges, saying they seek to put an end the government’s discriminatory policies against Shia minorities. In August 2009, Yemen launched an offensive, joined by Saudi forces in November, against the fighters in north of the country. The joint Yemeni-Saudi attacks have so far killed scores of civilians and displaced thousands of others in north.

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