Yemen court freezes assets of two Saleh-era officials

Long march towards justice

SANAA - A Yemen court Tuesday ordered the freezing of the assets of two top security officials who served under ousted strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh for refusing to testify in the case of a deadly Sanaa suicide bombing, a judicial source said.
The source named the officials as former commander of the central security services General Abdulmalik al-Taieb and his deputy General Yehya Mohammed Abdullah Saleh, a nephew of the former president.
Both men were regarded by court as "fugitives from justice" after they failed to appear, the source said, without specifying whether they were to appear as witnesses or defendants.
The Sanaa court specialising in terrorism cases has also imposed a travel ban on the pair, the source added.
Taieb was sacked on the day of the suicide attack -- May 21, 2012 -- which killed 86 soldiers and was claimed by Al-Qaeda. Yehya was dismissed in December.
On January 14, Yemen began the trial of nine Al-Qaeda suspects accused of involvement in the attack.
Al-Qaeda said the assault, in which a man dressed as a soldier detonated explosives in the middle of a battalion, was aimed at Defence Minister Mohammed Nasser Ahmed and his aides. The minister escaped unharmed.
It was the biggest assault on Yemeni troops since President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi came to power in February last year, following a year long uprising that ousted his predecessor Saleh.
During the first court hearing, one of the defendants, 24-year-old Hisham Sharaabi, had shouted out that "this case is political and involves high-ranking officials."
Saleh who had ruled Yemen for 33 years, had a closely-knit regime, appointing relatives to head sensitive security and military posts.
But since he took office, Hadi -- who must restructure the security and military apparatus based on the UN-backed deal that brought him to power -- has sacked many officers close to Saleh.