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Danish man charged with smuggling in Yemen aquitted by court

A Yemeni State Security Court judge acquitted a Danish man charged with allegedly smuggling weapons to Somali Islamists.

A Yemeni State Security Court judge acquitted a Danish man charged with allegedly smuggling weapons to Somali Islamists.

The pair were among eight foreigners, including four Australians, and 20 Yemenis, detained in October as part of a Yemeni state security campaign targeting members of an al-Qaida cell.

Yemeni officials have said the foreigners, who are Muslim, were studying at a university run by Sheik Abdul-Majid al-Zindani, who is listed as an al-Qaida supporter by the United States.

The Somali-born Danish man was the only foreigner who was charged. The others were released shortly after their arrest because of a lack of evidence.

On Monday, Judge Najeeb Qaderi found the Danish man, Abdi Othman Sinwi, 29, not guilty of illegally trading weapons and attempting to smuggle them to Somali insurgents, the court official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to speak to the media.

Prosecutors appealed the verdict, alleging that Sinwi had made confessions that were ignored by the court, the official said.

Qaderi also convicted the Yemeni, Abdullah Awad, 37, with providing a hideout for al-Qaida members and sentenced him to three years in prison, according to the official.

Yemen is believed to on a route frequently used for smuggling arms to Somali factions. The countries are both overwhelmingly Muslim and both are members of the Arab League.

Al-Qaida has an active presence in the Yemen, the ancestral home of Osama bin Laden, despite government efforts to fight the terror network. Al-Qaida was blamed for the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in Aden that killed 17 American sailors and the attack on a French oil tanker that killed one person two years later.

Somalia's insurgents are linked to the Council of Islamic Courts, which was driven from power in December by Somali and Ethiopian soldiers, accompanied by U.S. special forces. The U.S. has accused the courts of having ties to al-Qaida.

The militants have long rejected any secular government and have sworn to fight until Somalia becomes an Islamic emirate.

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