Frenchman's Killer Gets Death in Yemen, Awlaqi 10 Years
A court in Sanaa on Monday sentenced to death a Yemeni accused of killing a Frenchman and handed down a 10-year jail sentence in absentia to radical U.S.-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaqi.
Hisham Mohammed Assem, who was given the death penalty by a Sanaa criminal court after being convicted of killing French energy contractor Jacques Spagnolo near Sanaa in October, said in court he will appeal the verdict.
The same court sentenced Awlaqi to 10 years in prison for taking part in an armed group and incitement to kill foreigners.
His relative, Othman al-Awlaqi, was sentenced to eight years on the same charges. Both are on the run and were sentenced in absentia.
"This crime (killing Spagnolo) was committed under the incitement of Anwar and Othman al-Awlaqi," the judge said as he read the verdict.
The court also accused the three men of "working within a terrorist group."
Spagnolo, who worked for energy group OMV, was gunned down at the company's compound in Sanaa on October 6, the same day a British embassy car was targeted by a rocket attack that wounded one person.
Assem was overpowered and arrested. At the time, OMV said it saw "no political background for the action taken by the Yemeni security guard" while the defense ministry said Assem had probably acted for personal reasons in what was a criminal matter.
However, it stressed that the conclusions were preliminary.
Earlier this year U.S. President Barack Obama's administration authorized the targeted killing of Awlaqi.
In the latest edition of Inspire, the English-language online magazine issued by al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), Anwar al-Awlaqi renewed a call to strike the American government and citizens, SITE monitoring agency reported Sunday.
"Both the (U.S.) government and private citizens should be targeted," he wrote in an article. "America and Americans are the imams of kufr (leaders of disbelief) in this day and age.