Iran's spies in Yemeni court

Published Date: April 13, 2010 

SANAA: Yemen put four Shiite rebel supporters on trial yesterday on charges of 
spying for Iran in a move that could strain a truce to end a northern war that 
drew in neighboring oil giant Saudi Arabia last year. Prosecutors asked for the 
death penalty for the men, a prosecution official said. The four were accused 
of handing Shiite Iran photographs of security and military installations as 
well as ports and islands, the indictment said.

During the period between 1994 and Aug 25, 2009, they undertook to spy for a 
foreign state and hold illegal communications with those working for Iran's 
interests," the indictment said. The men were arrested in July and August. 
"They received support and funding to carry out intellectual and political 
projects serving Iranian interests, and submitted to them reports on the 
political, economic and social situation in the country.

Yemen, under international pressure to end its northern conflict, sealed a 
truce with the rebels in February to end the long-running conflict that has 
raged on and off since 2004 and displaced 250,000 people. But implementation of 
all the required steps of the truce has been slow. Yemen, strategically located 
next door to Saudi Arabia, jumped to the forefront of Western security concerns 
after Al-Qaeda's Yemen-based regional arm claimed responsibility for an 
attempted December attack on a US-bound plane.

Western countries and Saudi Arabia want Sanaa to calm the situation in the 
north to focus on fighting a resurgent Al-Qaeda, which the West fears is 
exploiting instability in Yemen to launch attacks in the region and beyond. 
Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh declared the war definitively over last 
month. Previous truces to end the northern war have not held and analysts are 
skeptical the latest ceasefire will last as it fails to address insurgent 
complaints of discrimination by the government. -Reuters 

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