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Head Judge in Bombing Trial Steps Down

National Yemen

Head Judge in Bombing Trial Steps Down

By NY Staff

The ongoing trial to ascertain the facts behind the bombing of the ex-president’s mosque saw a surprising turnover last week. During a hearing in which all defendants were present with their lawyers, not a single one of the victims’ relatives attended the hearing. These absences were not the product of faulty alarm clocks; the defendants’ families were protesting the presiding judge over accusations of his non-neutrality. The judge responsible, Hilal Mahvl, has recused himself from the trial due to embarrassment over the event.

Hilal Mahvl, head of the court, denied the recently spread news regarding his resignation of the bombing issue aimed at former president Ali Abdullah Saleh. “I did not resign and I did not stop looking at the issue for all the defendants are revolutionary youths, as incorrect news reports have stated. I announced my stepping down from the court because I feel embarrassed by the reports of my credibility.” Of the 57 accused, 5 defendants are already behind bars, 25 have been released on bail and 27 will be tried in absentia. The defendants include both military employees and civilians.

The bombing of the presidential palace aimed at former president Ali Abdullah Saleh in 2011 led to the death of Abdul Aziz Abdul Ghani, then chairman of the Shura Council. Many politicians close to Saleh were also injured.

Following the bombing, Saleh had left Yemen to seek medical treatment in Saudi Arabia. Many analysts and politicians were surprised by his return to Yemen four months later. Saleh finally left power for good through his signature of the Agreement on the Gulf initiative in November 2011.

Saleh currently makes several appearances on the Yemen Today channel. He has expressed confidence in the return of his General People’s Congress party to power in 2014. He also said in a recent interview on the Yemen Today channel that the GPC party was the entity hit hardest by Yemen’s political turmoil, and that Hadi’s successful management of the current situation in Yemen was thanks to his own efforts.