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Yemen Welcomes Appeal Court Verdict; Sheikh Moayad and Companion Innocent

  Written By: Hakim Almasmari ( YEMEN POST STAFF ) 
  Article Date:
October 06, 2008


Yemeni government welcomed the verdict of the U.S. Appeal Court in Sheikh Mohammed Al-Moayad and his companion Mohammed Zayed's case which stated that both men were innocent of accusations attributed to them and ordered their release.

Foreign Minister Abu Bakr Al-Qirbi told media that "The ruling goes in line with Yemen's stance as for arrest measures that were incompatible with the international legislations and norms."

He added that the first trial in New York was politically motivated and asked for the immediate release of Sheikh Al-Moayyad and Zayed, hinting that Yemen will spare no effort to secure their prompt release. 

Sheikh Al-Moayad was sentenced to 75 years in prison while his companion Mohammad Zayed was sentenced to 45 years. Both were arrested in Frankfort Airport while they were on their way for medical check-ups and were later handed over to the U.S. Administration on suspicion of funneling funds to the Palestinian Hamas Movement and Al-Qaeda Organization as well as supporting terrorism.

By issuing this ruling, the court overturned the 2005 verdicts against Sheik Al-Moayad and Zayed and gave them the right to a new trial before a different judge, justifying the moves by Brooklyn federal Judge Sterling Johnson Jr. as "serious evidentiary errors".

It also faulted Johnson for allowing prosecutors to present notes written by the informant Mohammed Al-Ansi, who had "significant motive" to lie against Moayad and Zayed, especially after he was promised $5 million in reward by the FBI. However in the end, Al-Ansi did not receive the complete amount that was promised to him, which led him to set himself on fire in front of the White House in Washington D.C. in protest.

According to the ruling, "Wrong testimonies had prejudiced trials of Sheikh Mohammed Al-Moayad, 60, and Mohammed Mohsen Zayed, 34, leading to their conviction by a Brooklyn federal court for conspiracy to support Al-Qaeda and Hamas."

For his part, Al-Moayad's lawyer Robert Boyle expressed his pleasure at the court's ruling particularly when it pointed out the accumulative faults of the Brooklyn Court. Associated Press quoted Boyle as saying that he wishes his client, who is elderly and suffers critical health problems, could return to his homeland in the very near future.

Despite the different official and popular activities in Yemen to release Al-Moayad and his aide Zayed, they managed not to secure their release. The Yemeni government also offered to try them locally if  America hands them over to Yemeni authorities. 

However, the American Administration never fully responded to the Yemeni government's constant requests to hand them over, along with other detainees, including dozens jailed at the U.S. detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.