Yemen Judge Orders Al Awlaki Arrest "By Any Means"
Update: Yemen has deployed hundreds more troops to capture al-Alwaki.
Wanted, dead or alive: A Judge in Yemen has ordered Cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and a relative arrested "by any means" to face terrorism charges in connection with the killing of French engineer Jacques Spagnolo last month. The order was issued as hearings got underway in the trial of a third man accused of the murder. [More...]
Judge Mohsen Alwan called on prosecutors to "forcibly arrest" Anwar al-Awlaqi and a relative, Othman al-Awlaqi, whom a Sanaa court has charged with "incitement to kill foreigners and members of security services."
Public prosecutor Ali al-Samet told the court the pair had failed to appear for a second time on Saturday before the court that specialises in terrorism cases.
Anwar al-Awlaki and Othman al-Awlaqi, along with Yemeni Hisham Mohammed Assem, are charged with "forming an armed gang to carry out criminal acts and to target foreigners and security forces on behalf of Al-Qaeda."
The prosecutor in Yemen says Assem and Anwar al-Awlaki corresponded for months and al-Awlaki repeatedly "encouraged" Assem to kill Spagnolo.
Assem alleges he was tortured after his arrest, but still claims al Awlaki has nothing to do with the murder. He says he killed Spagnolo over a bad debt.
The U.S. ordered the targeted killing of Anwar al Awlaki , who is believed to be hiding in a province of Shabwa, last April.
On the cargo bomb plot: Yemen denies al-Awlaki has any connection to it. AQAP has issued statements claiming responsibility for the plot, as well as for the September 3 plane crash in Dubai, which authorities there insist was not the result of a bomb. The New York Times says Saudis warned the U.S. of the cargo bomb plot weeks in advance.
American officials cautioned that the Saudi tip in early October, though more specific than other previous warnings, made no mention of an impending attack on the air cargo system.
“Over the past several months, we received intelligence — which was shared across our government — from our foreign partners about threats from AQAP and other terrorist groups,” George Little, a spokesman for the C.I.A., said Friday in an e-mail, referring to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
The ACLU and Center for Constitutional Rights will be in federal court in D.C. Monday for arguments in their case challenging the government's asserted authority to carry out targeted killings of U.S. citizens who are beyond any armed conflict zone and who do not pose an imminent threat. The case is Al-Aulaqi v. Obama.
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