Saturday, September 17, 2011

Yemen opposition denies US accusation to Zindani being terrorism supporter

By: Shuaib M. al-Mosawa

Sep 17, 2011

The opposition groups’ Joint Meeting Party (JMP) said it will not hand over any Yemeni on a U.S. terror list for terror charges in light of their newly international commitments to combat terrorism.

Muhammed Qahtan, the JMP spokesperson, said that Abdulmajeed al-Zindani is not on a U.S. terror list. “There is no such claim [by the U.S.] That was just blackmail by the regime,” Qahtan said.

He added that only Al-Zindani assets were frozen but he is not a terrorist. “The Yemeni Constitution,” Qahtan said, “bans handing over any wanted person to a foreign state except for Saudi Arabia under the framework of an agreement between the two states of extraditing criminals.”

The U.S. embassy in Sana’a, when asked for comments on whether al-Zindani sill wanted, directed us to the its official documents that condemned Al-Zindani as a financer and recruiter of Al-Qaeda militants

“The U.S. has credible evidence that AL-Zindani, a Yemeni national, supports designated terrorists and terrorist organizations,” according to a February 2004 press release by the U.S. Treasury Department.

The press release said that al-Zindani “has a long history of working with bin Laden, notably serving as one of his spiritual leaders. In this leadership capacity, he has been able to influence and support many terrorist causes, including actively recruiting for al-Qaeda training camps.

Most recently, he played a key role in the purchase of weapons on behalf of al-Qaeda and other terrorists.” The press release pointed out to Sana’a-based Al-Eman University run by Al-Zindani.

“Al Iman students,” the press release said, “are suspected of being responsible, and were arrested, for recent terrorist attacks, including the assassination of three American missionaries and the assassination of the number two leader for the Yemeni Socialist party, Jarallah Omar.

Notably, John Walker Lindh [a U.S. citizen who joined Jihad in Afghanistan] was also a student at Al-Eman University before he joined the Taliban.” The U.S. ambassador to Yemen Gerald Feierstein expressed in a March press conference concerns over the Islamist Islah Party taking power.

“…So if you’re saying, Abdul Majid al-Zindani,” said Feierstein in an answer to a question asked by one journalist, “Abdul Majid al-Zindani, as you know, is on the terrorism list both of the United States and the United Nations, and so would we have a problem if he were elected President, absolutely...”

The United States blames the Yemeni government for Al-Zindani is still at large despite being on the terror list.

“The [Yemeni] Government’s capacity for stemming terrorism financing remains limited. In February, the UN 1267 Sanctions Committee designated prominent Yemeni sheikh and opposition Islah party leader al-Zindani for his association with al-Qaeda.

The Yemeni Government has taken no action to bar his travel or to freeze his assets in compliance with its UN obligations, and Zindani continues to appear prominently at public events.”

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