June 21, 2009 / 10:28 AM / 9 years ago

Yemeni who killed Jew gets death sentence

Abdul-Aziz al-Abdi, a Yemeni Muslim, listens to a verdict at a court in Amran, western Yemen in this March 2, 2009 file photo. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah/Files

SANAA (Reuters) - An appeals court in Yemen sentenced to death Sunday a man who shot dead a Jewish compatriot.

In March a court ruled the man, Abdul-Aziz al-Abdi, was mentally unstable and sent him to an psychiatric institution, but the victim’s father appealed the verdict.

Yehiya bin Yaeesh said his son Mashaa was in the company of four Muslim men when he was shot in the town of Raida in December and had clearly been targeted.

Al-Abdi’s lawyers said they would take the case to the Supreme Court, the country’s highest judicial body.

There are 200-300 Jews in Yemen. About 50,000 moved to Israel in an airlift begun in 1949.

Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest country, is struggling with a Shi’ite revolt in the north, a secessionist movement in the south and growing militancy among Sunni al Qaeda sympathisers.

The unrest has raised fears that Yemen will slip into chaos and provide a base for al Qaeda or pirates operating in the Indian Ocean.

Sunni Muslims make up the majority of Yemen’s 23 million inhabitants, while most of the rest are from the Zaydi branch of Shi’ite Islam.

Reporting by Mohamed Sudam; Editing by Louise Ireland

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