Written By: Mohammed al-Kibsi
Article Date: Feb 17, 2009 - 5:21:09 AM
The criminal court in the governorate of Amran has adjourned to consider the case of Masha al-Nahari, a member of Yemen’s Jewish minority in Raydah who was murdered last December by an extremist. The court will issue their verdict on March 2.
The court, headed by Judge Abdulbari Ougba, listened to the final proceedings, in addition to a medical report presented by the defendant’s lawyer, concerning the mental state of the accused, Abdul Aziz Al-Abdi, at the time of the murder.
Masha al-Nahari’s killer has been trying to avoid the death penalty, claiming problems with his mental state at the time of the murder.
Khalid al-Shalali, the defendant’s lawyer, said his client was mentally unfit, and suffering from schizophrenia when the murder was committed.
During the trial’s last session, held Monday in Amran’s criminal court, the defendant’s lawyer presented a medical report, which indicated his client was suffering from schizophrenia, and that he had killed his wife not long before the murder. The lawyer representing Masha al-Nahari, Yahya Allaw, attempted to cast doubt on the medical report, saying it failed to state which doctors had issued the report, or their specialization. He added that the report failed to specify the exact physiological state of the suspect when he committed the crime. The court accepted the demands of the victim’s lawyer, and decided to refer the medical report to a medical committee for clarification on the suspect’s physiological state.
The suspect is a retired military pilot, who claims he is a representative of the Mujahideen in Yemen, and the Horn of Africa. His lawyer used these claims in an attempt to prove his client’s diminished mental state, arguing that he was sick, and that all of his claims are imaginary.
The Jewish community in Raydah complained about threats received from groups of Islamic extremists previously and they subsequently demanded the protection of the Yemeni government. However, security authorities in the past refused to recognize the claims of the Jewish minority, saying there was no evidence of threats against the defendants.
The recent case only heightened the distress amongst the Jewish community in Raydah and representatives were forced to escalate their complaints, which eventually reached the President of the Republic. They demanded their evacuation from Raydah to Sana’a, and compensation for their houses and property in Raydah. Their demands were met by President Saleh, who ordered properties to be provided for them in order to establish new homes in Sana’a.
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