San’a, Yemen — A Yemeni court on Sunday sentenced a Muslim extremist to death for assassinating a key politician and planning attacks against three American missionaries — including a woman from Wauwatosa, Wis. — in December 2002.
The sentencing immediately followed Ali al-Jarallah’s conviction in the Dec. 28, 2002, death of Yemeni Socialist Party deputy secretary-general Jarallah Omar during an Islamic political conference.
Al-Jarallah was also convicted of coordinating the murders, two days later, of the three Americans at a Southern Baptist missionary hospital in Jibla, southern Yemen, and of forming a terror cell to kill local officials and foreigners.
Six accomplices in the Omar murder were given terms between three to 10 years. Seven other alleged militants were acquitted.
Omar’s Socialist Party and other opposition parties have sought a larger investigation to reveal what they said were influential Yemenis financing al-Jarallah’s cell. Prosecutors had said al- Jarallah confessed to forming the cell to target secular people, Christians and other Islamic sects.
Abed Abdul Razak Kamel, who was also sentenced to death in May for killing the missionaries, told the court he had coordinated his attack with al-Jarallah.
On Dec. 30, 2002, Kamel walked through a hospital security checkpoint, concealing his weapon under loose-fitting clothes, and opened fire at a staff meeting. The shooting killed hospital director William E. Koehn, 60, of Kansas; purchasing agent Kathleen A. Gariety, 53, of Wauwatosa; and Martha C. Myers, 57, of Montgomery, Ala.
Yemeni security officials have said Kamel and al-Jarallah may be linked to al-Qaida.