Nine go on trial for plotting to kill Yemeni president


Nine suspected al Qaeda members went on trial in Yemen on Sunday, accused of plotting to assassinate President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, kill military and security officers and kidnap foreigners, state news agency Saba reported.

The hearing follows a trial that concluded in September in which three members of the militant network were convicted of similar charges.

Yemen is battling one of the most active franchises of al Qaeda, known as Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which has been foiled in several attempted attacks on Western targets, including airliners.

A court document said that six members of the group, including the main suspect who is still at large, had planted an explosive device earlier this year on a road used by Hadi on his way to his office at the presidential palace.

Their intention was to detonate it remotely and kill him, Saba said, but the device was discovered and dismantled by security forces.

It was one of several attempted attacks on Hadi, who was elected in February 2012 after his predecessor Ali Abdullah Saleh stepped down as part of a U.S.-backed power transfer deal that ended months of popular protests against his three decades in office.

The court of first instance in Sanaa in September found three suspected al Qaeda members guilty of plotting to kill Hadi and sentenced them to one, five and seven years in jail.