Al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki sentenced to ten years in prison

Sanaa (Yemen), Jan.17 (ANI): A Yemeni court has sentenced fugitive al-Qaeda propagandist Anwar al-Awlaki to ten years in prison for his role in the murder of a French energy contractor. he court said the killing of Jacques Spagnolo was "committed under the incitement" of al-Awlaki.

It held Othman al-Awlaki, a relative of al-Awlaki who is also on the run, guilty on the same charges. Hisham Mohammad Assem, who gunned down Mr Spagnolo near Sana'a in October, has been given a death sentence.

Prosecutors have said that al-Awlaki corresponded with Assem for months, encouraging him to kill foreigners.

Spagnolo, who worked for energy group OMV, was gunned down at the company's compound in Sanaa on October 6, the same day a British embassy car was targeted in a rocket attack.

Assem was overpowered and arrested.

Mohammed al-Saqqaf, a lawyer for both Anwar and Othman al-Awlaki, told the court that the pair had no "connection or contact" with Assem.

"I reject the verdict and will appeal," Assem said from the court security cage.

Earlier this year President Barack Obama's administration authorised the killing of US-born al-Awlaki, the first citizen of the country to be thus targeted.

Al-Awlaki has been linked to a US army major charged with shooting dead 13 people in Fort Hood, Texas in November 2009 and to a Nigerian student accused of trying to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight on December 25 that year.

In a video posted on extremist websites, al-Awlaki has called for the killing of Americans "without hesitation." "It's either us or you," al-Awlaki said, addressing Americans in the video. (ANI)

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