By Nasser Arrabyee/17/01/2011
A Yemeni young man was sentenced to death on Monday for shooting dead a Frenchman last October in the Yemeni capital Sana’a.
The State Security Court, chaired by Judge Muhsen Alwan, issued the death sentence against Hesham Asem, 19, for killing the French man Jacques Spagnolo.
The court also sentenced , in absentia, 10, and 8 years in prison respectively to the Yemeni- American cleric, Anwar Al Awlaki and his cousin Othman Al Awlaki for inciting the defendant Asem to kill the French man and other foreigners.
Asem asked the judge for an appeal, and the lawyer of the two Awlakis, Saleem Allaw, asked for an appeal for his clients who were tried in absentia.
On October 6th, 2010, Asem who was working as a guard in a Sana’a-based Austrian company for oil and gas (OMV), waited in the early morning until the director of the company, the French man, Mr Spagnolo, came to work and shot him dead and looked for another British man and shot him injured before he was arrested.
“ Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, God is greater, God is greater,” Asem was shouting while shooting as almost all the present staff said at the time.
The prosecutor accused Asem of implementing instructions of, Anwar Al Awlaki, to kill foreigners.
The prosecutor said that Asem contacted Anwar through his cousin Othman, seeking an advice what to do the foreigners he is working with. “Kill them because they are occupiers,” Al Awlaki, the most wanted for CIA, dead or alive, advised Asem in emails according to the minutes of investigations.
But in the trial sessions, Asem denied, saying he was only forced to say that.
Lawyers and relatives of Asem say that the defendant was sexually harassed by the French director of the company and this is why he killed him. The lawyers also said that the court refused to allow witnesses of the defendants.
Asem did not finish his high school and he spent about one year and a half looking for a job to support himself before he found his job as a guard in the OMV company.