Al-Awlaki sentenced to prison in absentia

SANAA, Yemen, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- A Yemeni court sentenced a 19-year-old male to death in the fatal shooting of a French citizen last year and sentenced a U.S.-born cleric to prison.

The Specialized Penal Court ruled Hisham Muhammad Ahmed Asim, a security guard at the Austrian OMV Group, an oil and gas concern in Sanaa, killed Javor Henry and injured a British security officer, the Yemen Post reported Tuesday.


Tried in absentia was Anwar al-Awlaki -- the U.S.-born radical cleric with ties to al-Qaida and its Yemen-based offshoot, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula -- who was sentenced to 10 years in prison for incitement to kill foreigners, the Post said. The court also sentenced Othman al-Awlaki, the cleric's cousin and another AQAP member, to eight years in prison on similar charges.

The Yemen Observer said prosecutors accused the three of forming a gang that targeted security personnel and foreigners living in Yemen.

The Muslim cleric, linked to the attempted terror attack on a U.S.-bound airliner on Christmas Day 2009, became the first U.S. citizen the CIA is authorized to kill. Awlaki, who was born in New Mexico, is on target lists maintained by the U.S. military and the CIA, meaning he is considered a legitimate target not only for a military strike by U.S. and Yemeni forces, but also for CIA operatives. Awlaki corresponded with Maj. Nidal Hasan, the Army psychiatrist accused of killing 12 soldiers and one civilian at Fort Hood, Texas, in November 2009.


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