Countryaah official website, President Ali Abdullah Saleh was re-elected on
September 23 in the first direct presidential election in
Yemen's history. Saleh, who has held power since 1978,
received 96.3% of the vote and was elected for five years.
His only opponent was Najin Qahtan ash-Shabi, who belonged
to Saleh's party, the General People's Congress, but who was
running for independence.
In October, the leader of the militant Islamic group
Aden-Abyan's Islamic army was executed after he was
convicted of murdering four kidnapped tourists, three
Britons and one Australian in December 1998. Another
Islamist was sentenced to death for the murder, and a third
was sentenced to life imprisonment. The judges triggered a
wave of violence.
Before and after the hostage crisis, Yemen had arrested a
total of eight British Muslims of Arab and Pakistani descent
as well as one Algerian. All were accused of planning
terrorist attacks against British targets in Yemen, and
several of them were found to have links to a London mosque,
prompting Yemen to accuse Britain of supporting terrorism.
Seven of them were sentenced in August to between three and
seven years in prison, while the others were released.
Incidentally, Yemen was shaken by a number of attacks
during the year, mainly in various public places in Aden and
Sana. A total of at least 20 people were killed. In several
cases, the suspicions fell on South Yemeni opposition.