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Yemen Arrests 12 Terror Suspects

September 25, 2002

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SAN’A, Yemen (AP) _ Yemeni authorities have rounded up 12 men suspected of links to the al-Qaida terror network, a security official said Wednesday.

The men were arrested this week after their names came up during investigations of other al-Qaida suspects.

The 12 might have information on several alleged members of the terror network who are still at large, the official said on condition of anonymity. He did not elaborate any further.

On Friday, Yemeni forces shot and killed two alleged al-Qaida members and arrested three others after a two-hour battle in a northern suburb of the capital San’a.

A Yemeni lawmaker said on Sunday the country was holding 104 people suspected of belonging to al-Qaida or of involvement in terrorist activities.

Yemen, Osama bin Laden’s ancestral homeland, long has been a fertile al-Qaida recruiting ground and has vast tribal areas beyond government control where al-Qaida members are believed to be hiding.

It also was the scene of the October 2000 bombing of the USS Cole, an American destroyer attacked while refueling in Aden. Seventeen U.S. sailors died in the attack.

After the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh committed his country to cooperating in the global war on terrorism.

Families of the 12 detained men accused intelligence agents on Wednesday of arresting their loved ones without charges.

Intelligence agents ``stormed our house and rounded up my father Mohamed Mayhoub and brother (Abdel Rahman) on Saturday without arrest warrants,″ said one of Mayhoub’s sons, who refused to give his full name.

Also on Wednesday, the Yemeni parliament endorsed a report by a special committee criticizing local authorities for violating terror suspects’ constitutional rights.

The committee was set up to examine the situation of al-Qaida suspects held in Yemen and at the U.S. naval base in Cuba.

In its final report, the committee said several detainees were subject to physical and psychological torture in Yemen.

Detainees were blindfolded during interrogations by Yemeni intelligence authorities and they and their families were threatened with physical harm unless they confessed to charges, the committee said in the report.

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